The Domino Effect in Writing


Domino is a game of stacking tile pieces on end in long lines. When a single domino in the line is tipped, it causes all of the other tiles to tip as well. This creates designs that can be very elaborate – straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, and even 3D structures like towers or pyramids.

Hevesh, an artist who builds these kinds of domino designs, calls this effect the “domino principle.” It’s the idea that a little push on one thing can cause a big impact on something else. Hevesh works from a basic plan, then tests each section of her work to make sure it functions as intended. Once she’s confident all the pieces work individually, she puts them together into their final configurations.

When writing a novel, the idea of the domino effect can be useful for making sure your scenes are all lined up in the correct order. If you are a pantser (writer who doesn’t plot their work ahead of time), it can help to check that your scenes connect logically. For instance, if you write a scene where your character uncovers an important clue, it needs to be followed by a scene that raises the stakes or adds further detail to that information.

If you’re a plotter, the domino principle can also be helpful for ensuring that your scenes fit into the bigger picture of your plot. You can use tools like outlines or Scrivener to organize your story and keep track of where your character is headed. This is especially important if you’re writing a longer piece, like a novel. Whether you’re a panster or a planner, the end goal of your book is to tell a compelling story that draws your reader in.

The history of domino is a bit murky, with some historians saying the game came from China in the 12th or 13th century, and others arguing that it was developed independently in Europe in the 18th Century. What’s clear is that they were quickly adopted as a fad and soon afterward began to appear in puzzle form.

These types of puzzles usually asked players to match a given pattern by placing dominoes so that their ends matched. They could also ask players to place tiles based on their arithmetic properties, requiring them to match particular sets of numbers and form certain totals.