The Domino Effect in Fiction


Domino: a domino effect is any action that sets off a cascade of events in one direction or another. In writing, a domino might be a scene that enables you to advance your story to its next point of conflict or discovery. Scene dominoes are ineffective by themselves, but in the hands of a skilled author, they can create something larger than the sum of their parts. Whether you plot your novel off the cuff or carefully plan it out, understanding the domino effect in fiction can help you make your scenes more compelling.

When it comes to arranging dominoes, the timing is everything. The first piece must be placed ever so slightly on the edge of its spot, or the whole structure will collapse. Likewise, in stories, each scene must be carefully spaced to create an effective pace. Scenes must be long enough to give readers a sense of progress (getting farther from or closer to the goal) and short enough that they don’t feel overly slow or overly fast. The same goes for the details of a scene; they must be detailed enough to give the reader a sense of place, but not so much that the scene seems overly long or overly short at important moments.

Hevesh started playing with dominoes at age 10, and she soon discovered that creating intricate designs for her favorite game could become a career. Now, her YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has more than 2 million subscribers, and she’s created domino installations for movies, TV shows, and even a music video for Katy Perry. Some of her most intricate setups take several nail-biting minutes to fall.

A domino set consists of 28 to 55 tiles, arranged in a circle and divided into suits. Each suit contains the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The pips on each tile are inlaid or painted to match the suit. Traditionally, European-style dominoes were made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell, ivory, or dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips. Those materials are more expensive than polymer sets, but they offer a more traditional look and feel.

Domino’s CEO David Brandon took over the company when it was in trouble, and he quickly instituted new changes to address problems such as the high turnover rate of employees. He also emphasized that Domino’s valued listening to its customers, which led him to promote a series of initiatives such as a relaxed dress code and employee training programs. Those changes helped to change the company’s fortunes, and they’ve helped to make it one of the Top Workplaces in Michigan.