The Domino Effect in Fiction

Domino’s is the world’s largest pizza chain, with locations around the globe. They’ve also expanded their business into appetizers, pastas, cakes, and other food items. Their corporate slogan is “think global, act local.” This means that they’re committed to providing fast, quality service while remaining sensitive to local needs and conditions. Domino’s is also known for their domino rallies, where they set up intricate sequences of dominoes that culminate in a spectacular fall with the simple nudge of one single piece.

The word “domino” is used for more than just a game; it’s an ideal metaphor for how small, seemingly insignificant actions can have a huge impact on the end result. This principle is particularly evident when it comes to writing fiction. Whether you write a novel off the cuff or carefully plot out each scene, the process of building a narrative ultimately comes down to one question: What happens next? How can you ensure that your readers will keep turning the pages to find out? By considering the domino effect in your plotting, you can create a more compelling story.

A domino is a rectangular tile with a number of dots on each side. The most common types of dominoes are made from polymers, such as clay, plastic, and cellulose acetate (CA). However, some people use natural materials to make their sets. Historically, dominoes were made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (MOP), ivory, or dark hardwoods such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted. While some sets of MOP, ivory, or ebony dominoes are still available, they’re becoming increasingly rare as consumers favor more modern, inexpensive polymer-based products.

Many different games can be played with dominoes, and the rules vary greatly depending on the game. However, the basic instructions for most domino games are that a line of tiles is formed on the table when a player matches and plays a tile by matching the pips on the open ends. This line of play is sometimes called the layout, string, or line of play. In some games, a line of play may be joined to itself in a loop by playing a double across the last domino played.

In a video, University of Toronto physicist Stephen Morris demonstrated how powerful the domino effect is. He showed that a domino only has to be pushed about one-and-a-half times its own size to fall. This is because, as the domino moves forward, some of its potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, which is transferred to the next domino that’s pushed over. This amplification effect is why a 13-ton, two billion-piece domino set can collapse with the push of just one tiny domino.

When Hevesh creates her mind-blowing domino installations, she follows a version of the engineering-design process. First she tests each section of the installation, then films it in slow motion so that she can make corrections if needed. When she’s satisfied that each segment works properly, she builds the larger 3-D sections before finally adding flat arrangements and lines of dominoes that connect all the pieces together. Often her larger setups take several nail-biting minutes to complete, but when they do, they’re truly awe-inspiring.