The Domino Effect in Writing


A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, one side of which bears an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. Each domino is marked with a number from zero to six; 28 such blocks make up a complete set. The word is also used for a game played with these blocks, or a set of rules governing the way they are laid out in lines and angular patterns. A player places a domino on the table and then places other tiles on top of it, each touching at least one end of the first tile. Once a chain of this sort is built, the tiles are knocked over. The process continues until the last domino has fallen.

Domino’s is famous for its pizza but the restaurant company is also known for its business leadership. In 2004, the company was $943 million in debt and facing bankruptcy, but it managed to turn things around with a few key changes. One of the most important was to listen to employees, as one of Domino’s core values is “Champion Our Customers.” This meant implementing changes such as relaxed dress codes and new leadership training programs.

Another core value of Domino’s is “Champion Our Team.” This includes fostering good relationships and providing opportunities to learn and grow, both of which lead to success. It also means providing clear and consistent communication. This was a critical factor in the company’s turnaround, as it helped to build trust among employees and create an environment where they could succeed.

When it comes to writing, the domino effect can be a great metaphor. The idea is that the scenes in your story should all fall in a natural sequence, like a line of dominoes that tumbles as each one falls, leading up to the big climax. However, it’s important to be careful when using this analogy because if you tip over your scene dominoes in the wrong order or at the wrong time, your reader might get confused.

If you’re a pantser writer (that is, you don’t make a detailed outline before writing) then you may have difficulty with the domino analogy. In this case, the scene dominoes are the plot beats of your story. If you don’t lay them out in advance, then you’ll likely end up with scenes that don’t connect well to the ones ahead of them or that don’t have enough logical impact on the next scene.

When creating her mind-blowing domino displays, Hevesh uses science to ensure that each piece will tumble in the right direction. She starts by considering the theme of a particular project and brainstorming images or words that could be connected to it. She then creates a test version of the design and films it in slow motion to pinpoint any errors. Once she’s confident that each part works, she puts them all together, starting with the biggest 3-D sections. Then she adds flat arrangements and finally lines that link all of the sections together.