The Domino Effect in Writing
Domino is a game played by two or more people using a set of small rectangular blocks, each marked with spots resembling those on dice. The dominos are placed on a flat surface, and each player takes a turn playing one onto the table. The first person to play a domino that touches both ends of the existing chain (normally an end with a number showing on one side or blank) then claims all the remaining tiles and declares victory. A player may not touch his or her own dominoes during play.
The most common domino sets contain 28 double six tiles, though larger and smaller sets are available for more complex games. The tiles are numbered along their edges, and each domino has a value indicated by the numbers in its corners, which are usually called pips or spots. A domino also has a line in its middle, which divides it visually into two equal squares. Each square has a value from zero to six, with the higher values having more pips than the lower. Each pips represents one unit of force, so a domino with more pips is “heavier” than a domino with fewer pips.
In order for a domino to fall, the forces that hold it in place must overcome its inertia, or its tendency to resist motion. A domino has potential energy, which is its stored energy compared to its resting state. When a domino is pushed, its potential energy turns to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion, which is transferred to the next domino in the chain, causing it to move and potentially knock over other dominoes. The process continues until all the dominoes have fallen.
Often, Hevesh’s mind-blowing domino creations require several nail-biting minutes to complete, and they are only made possible because of an essential physical phenomenon: gravity. When a domino is kicked, it is pulled toward Earth by the pull of gravity, which then sends it crashing into the next domino and setting off a chain reaction.
As a writer, you can use the domino effect in your story to create dramatic tension and build toward your resolution. Consider each scene in your story as a domino that must be impacted by the scenes before it to ensure that they are working together. If your scenes aren’t building tension or impacting the next scene, they need to be reworked.
If you are a pantser, meaning that you don’t make detailed outlines of your plot ahead of time, then you can apply the domino effect to your writing. Rather than using outlines or Scrivener, you can use scene cards to weed out scenes that aren’t doing their job and stifle momentum. This method will help you develop a better story structure and a more interesting and exciting plot.