Dominoes are small, flat, rectangular blocks used as gaming objects. They have a line or ridge to divide them visually into two squares, each with an arrangement of dots or “pips,” like those on a die, and some are blank. The identifying side of each domino bears an identity number; the opposite face is blank or identically patterned. A domino may have any value from six pips up, and each set of dominoes is distinguished from another by the number of pips on its ends, which are called “ends.”
Lily Hevesh started playing with dominoes at age 9. Her grandparents gave her a classic 28-pack, and she loved setting them up in straight or curved lines, flicking one ever-so-slightly, and watching all the others fall. Now, Hevesh is a professional domino artist who creates stunning installations for movies, TV shows, and events, including a recent album launch for Katy Perry. Her YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers.
When Hevesh starts planning a new installation, she sketches it out on paper. She also makes test versions of each section. She films them in slow motion so she can make precise corrections if something doesn’t work. Once she’s satisfied with the results, she builds the entire thing. She’s worked on projects as simple as a single straight line and as elaborate as 3-D structures that form pictures when they fall.
As Hevesh works on her projects, she considers the theme or purpose of the final result and brainstorms images or words that could represent it. She then plans the layout and calculates how many dominoes she’ll need to build the design. Once she’s ready to start building, she puts down the first domino. She then tests each domino in a different way to ensure that they all work together properly.
If a domino is positioned correctly, its adjacent ends will match up to form a chain that continues in an increasing length. The end of a chain is usually marked by a color or symbol that distinguishes it from the rest of the set.
If you’re a pantser, that is, you don’t use an outline or Scrivener to help plot your novel, you might not think of every scene as a domino, but if you don’t consider the effects of each scene in terms of how they influence the one after it, you might find yourself with scenes that don’t add up or make sense. For example, if you write a scene that reveals your hero’s immoral actions, the next scene needs to either show how they were justified or raise enough tension to keep readers interested in your story. Otherwise, the domino effect fails. Luckily, if you follow these tips for creating a compelling story, you can avoid such problems and achieve success as a writer.