How to Create a Domino Effect in Your Novel

Domino: A small rectangular wood or plastic block, each face of which is blank or marked with dots resembling those on dice. It is used as a gaming object in many different games. Also called bones, pieces, men, or stones. A game played with dominoes uses a set of these blocks to create a sequence of events that eventually leads to a final outcome, such as the death of a character or the destruction of a city.

The most common use of dominoes is for positional games where each player in turn places a domino edge to edge against another so that the adjacent faces either match (for example, two dominoes with the same value of 5) or form some specified total (such as a five-of-five sequence). A typical domino set has double-six dominoes. The player who has the highest-value domino, known as an “opening” double, plays first and continues to play dominoes in turn until a matching opening domino is found or all players have exhausted their stock of unplayable dominoes.

Each domino has potential energy based on its position, but when the player stands it upright against gravity, much of this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy as the domino falls over the next domino, thereby starting the chain reaction that causes one domino to lead to the next. This is why it is important to play dominoes on a hard surface so that each domino has sufficient friction with the tabletop to fall over without excessive effort.

Dominoes are often used as parts of Rube Goldberg machines, which are complex devices that achieve simple tasks using multiple steps. The largest known domino structure is a 1,500-ton display that was built for the 2010 WTC Expo in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. Other structures include curved lines of dominoes that form pictures, and stacked walls and pyramids of dominoes.

As a writer, it is helpful to think of each plot beat in your novel as a domino that will eventually tip over on itself and cause a chain reaction throughout the story. This allows you to plan the sequence of events that will ultimately happen in your story, and make sure each piece fits together smoothly.

When creating a domino effect in your story, it is helpful to remember that your reader will want to see the logic behind each event that occurs. If you write a scene that contradicts what your reader believes to be logical, the domino effect will fail. For example, if your hero shoots someone, you must explain why this is a plausible action or else your readers will stop following your protagonist’s illogical path. You may be tempted to avoid writing scenes that run counter to reader logic, but this can lead to your story being confusing and less enjoyable for the reader. Instead, you should strive to create scenes that feel natural and organic. Ultimately, this will give the best reading experience for your audience.