How to Use the Domino Effect to Enhance Your Novel


Domino is a small, rectangular block used as a gaming object. The domino’s identity-bearing face is divided into two parts, with each part bearing from one to six pips or dots. The blank or identically patterned side of each domino is called the base. 28 such dominoes make up a full set. Dominoes are arranged in various configurations, including lines and angular patterns, to form various types of games.

Many of these games involve scoring points by counting the pips on the exposed ends of the dominoes. Other games teach children number recognition and math skills by duplicating card game rules. Some games are blocking, while others use dominoes to build a structure, such as a pyramid or castle.

When it comes to plotting a novel, each scene must contribute to the overall effect. Just like a domino cascade, each scene should lead to the next in a natural way that makes sense for your character. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or write a detailed outline, considering how to use the domino effect will help you construct a narrative that captivates readers and propels them toward a satisfying conclusion.

Whether you’re playing a traditional draw-type domino game or something more complex, each tile must be placed correctly to maintain the pattern. For instance, a domino played to a double must be laid perpendicular to that double. This ensures that all four of the domino’s matching sides are touching each other. Then, the tile can be pushed across the center of the domino chain. The domino is then knocked over in a chain reaction that continues until the last domino falls.

When you consider it, it’s no wonder that the domino effect is so powerful. As physicist Stephen Morris explains, “when you stand a domino upright, it stores potential energy in the fact that it is standing up against gravity.” When that first domino falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, which is transferred from the domino to the next domino in the chain, causing it to fall. This is why you need to take time to plan out your domino effect.

When planning out a complex domino arrangement, you can start by considering the theme of your novel or the storyline. From there, you can brainstorm images and ideas to inspire you to create a mind-blowing domino setup. Once you have the basics down, you can start laying out your dominoes. You can also try using a program such as Domino Designer, which lets you sketch out a design for your ultimate domino setup. Whether you want straight lines, curved lines that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, or even 3D structures, Domino Designer has all the tools you need to get started. Whether you’re an experienced domino designer or a novice, you’ll have fun watching your masterpiece come to life.