Domino Effects

When someone describes a domino effect, they are referring to the way that one event or decision can trigger an entire chain of events that ultimately has far-reaching consequences. This can be a positive, such as when a celebrity endorsement causes sales to spike for a new product, or it can be a negative, such as when one bad incident can cause a whole series of problems for a business.

Dominoes are a game played by two or more players, and there are a number of different ways to play them. Some games involve placing a domino edge to edge against another in such a way that the adjacent faces match up to form a specific total (e.g., five to a column). Other games involve arranging dominoes so that a player can take a turn by picking a domino from the stock and then playing it, adding it to his or her own set of dominoes and taking turns until all of the sleeping pieces are used up.

The word domino derives from a Latin word meaning “flip,” and it is believed to have been applied to the game in the mid-18th century. In the earliest senses of both the word and the game, however, it denoted a long hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade, or a black domino contrasting against the white surplice of a priest.

Domino builders are known as “domino artists,” and they create impressive scenes for shows in front of audiences of fans. These artists use thousands of dominoes to build elaborate structures, which are usually set up in carefully sequenced lines, all of which eventually fall with the nudge of just one. They work on these setups for hours and sometimes days, ensuring that every element works together before they show them off to the crowd.

In addition to building these elaborate displays, these artists often do domino demonstrations for schools, companies, and private events. During these shows, they demonstrate how the dominoes are used and talk about the history of the game. They also teach people how to play and how to create their own domino art.

As writers, we can think of the process of plotting our novels as being a bit like setting up a row of dominoes. Whether we write a novel off the cuff or carefully plot our story with an outline, we need to ensure that all of our scenes, like the dominoes, logically connect and flow in a way that will keep the reader engaged. For example, if we have a character make an emotional shift in the middle of our storyline, we need to make sure that this change is reflected in the scene that follows it. If not, the readers may be confused or even annoyed. We may even have to go back and revise the scene to better reflect the character’s new emotions and goals.