How to Create a Domino Effect

A domino effect is a chain reaction that starts with one event and then triggers multiple other events, often with little or no warning. It can have a positive or negative outcome. Whether you are trying to build up suspense in a scene or keep readers on the edge of their seat, a domino effect can be a powerful tool for your story.

Dominos are rectangular tiles with a number of dots or spots on each end. They can be arranged to form straight or curved lines, grids that create pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and even 3D structures. Domino art is popular, and some artists even use them to create works of sculpture. In order to make a domino work, it must be positioned so that its matching ends are touching. In most games, the player must play a tile that has a number showing on one of its two ends; if both ends show numbers, the tile is said to be “stitched up.”

Each domino has inertia, meaning that it will resist movement until it gets pushed. But a tiny nudge can tip the first domino over, causing it to push on the next one until it too falls. When all the dominoes have fallen, they will form a line called a chain.

The game of domino has roots that extend back to the 17th Century, although its exact origin is unclear. It arrived in Britain in the late 18th Century and may have been brought to the country by French prisoners of war. The word “domino” itself also has several different senses. It originally meant a black hood worn with a white surplice by a Catholic priest, but it may have also referred to a gaming piece made of ebony and ivory.

When a domino is played, it must be placed on the table so that its matching ends touch. The number showing on one of the ends must match a number that is already in the chain. The chain then develops in a snake-line pattern on the table. A player is out of the game if he plays a tile that is not a match for any existing ones.

In some games, players can continue playing until the entire chain is exhausted or no longer possible to play. When that happens, the winners are those whose total points on their remaining dominoes are the lowest. In other games, a player can win by “chipping out,” or playing all of his pieces before his opponents.

If you’re a pantser, that is, you don’t do detailed outlines of your plot ahead of time, you might end up with scenes that are at the wrong angle or have no logical impact on the scene before it. If your characters start going against societal norms, for instance, you’ll have to provide the logic that allows readers to forgive or tolerate those actions. Otherwise, your scene will fail to have the dramatic impact you want it to have.