The Domino Effect

Domino is a game in which players place tiles, or dominoes, on end to form long lines. When a domino is tipped, it causes the next domino in line to tip, and so on until all of the dominoes have fallen. This sequence can be repeated over and over again to create very complex designs. People also use Dominoes to play games such as poker, checkers, and backgammon.

You may have seen videos of domino shows, where builders set up hundreds or even thousands of dominoes in careful succession. When the last domino falls, it reveals a giant artwork or portrait on the floor. This is a perfect example of the domino effect, which describes a chain reaction that starts with one simple event and leads to much greater—or even catastrophic—consequences.

A domino is a small rectangular block with from one to six pips or dots, each marked with a number of alternating colors. There are 28 such dominoes in a complete set. A domino is used for various games in which the ends of a series of tiles are matched together to form a linear or angular pattern, such as a snake-line. The number of dominoes used varies according to the game, and the number of ways in which they can be arranged.

Physicist Stephen Morris notes that when a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy, or stored energy based on its position. As soon as the first domino is tipped, however, this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, or energy of motion. The momentum of the falling domino then propels each successive domino into motion. As the dominoes continue to fall, they produce a rhythm, a “domino pulse” that moves down the line at a constant speed without losing energy along the way. This is similar to the speed of nerve impulses in your body, which are transmitted through axons that run the length of your entire body.

Similarly, when you build your story, each scene is a domino that influences what happens next. Your task is to write scenes that are logical and plausible, which will help readers understand why your characters do what they do. If you want your reader to accept an immoral action, for example, you will need to provide logic that allows them to give it a pass. If you want your reader to continue liking your hero, you will need to show them enough reasons why he or she is worthy of their continued admiration. This is how you create a believable, engaging narrative.