Domino, which means “falling one piece at a time,” is an easy and fun way to illustrate cause-and-effect. It’s a concept that can be applied to many situations, whether it’s the physical cascade of domino tiles or societal behaviors and events.
When a person tips over the first domino, it causes the others to follow. A chain reaction begins and each subsequent domino falls because it’s a natural consequence of the previous one. The process may be exciting, or tedious, but it’s always satisfying when it’s complete. In fact, there are people who devote their lives to making intricate domino displays. Domino artist Hevesh says her biggest projects take several nail-biting minutes to fall, but the entire setup is made possible by a single, simple law of nature: gravity.
Hevesh’s creations, which have topped Guinness World Records, are all built using the same basic principle. The tops of each domino rest on the bottoms of those that have already fallen, creating a layered structure. Her goal is to build the highest domino tower she can without it collapsing under its own weight.
A domino set contains a group of rectangular tile-shaped pieces called tiles. These tiles can be arranged into rows or columns to play domino games. Most domino sets feature the numbers 1 through 6 with some containing blank or 0 tiles. Each of these tiles has a different numerical value that can be used to play a variety of games. The most popular game involves placing a domino tile edge to edge with another in such a manner that the adjacent faces match or form a specified total.
The most popular domino sets contain 28 domino tiles and are designed for two players to play. Each of these tiles has a number, which indicates the suit in which it belongs. There are also larger domino sets for games with multiple players and those who are interested in longer domino layouts.
One of the most famous examples of the domino effect occurred in a small town in the U.S. In the early 1980s, a woodworker named Nick Schwab developed a system to help him organize his business and improve efficiency. He ranked each task on its importance and then focused on the most important one until completion. Then he would start on the next. Within five years his steel company became the largest independent steel producer in the world.
This principle of focusing on the most impactful tasks is known as the domino effect because Schwab’s focus triggered a series of positive results. It’s a lesson we all can learn from when we prioritize our tasks and work on the ones that will yield the most rewards in the long run.
When it comes to writing fiction, this is an important point to keep in mind when plotting a story. Plotting a novel is much like setting up a series of dominoes. Every scene is a potential trigger that will create a series of reactions, just as one domino knocks down the next. Whether you’re a spontaneous writer who writes by the seat of your pants or a meticulous planner, understanding the domino effect will help you make sure that all of your plot beats are connected in a coherent and logical manner.