Day: May 2, 2024

The Domino Effect in Fiction


Have you ever seen the domino effect? When one domino is even slightly tipped, it cascades down, sparking another series of dominoes to topple over and cause cascading cascades of other pieces to tumble in a predictable pattern. In storywriting terms, creating such a domino effect through emotion, action and reaction ensures readers will remain engaged throughout.

Domino is a classic board game in which players place tiles, or “bones”, onto a table in sequence, each featuring either a number or an empty side. Players take turns selecting bones which fit one of the open ends on the table layouts – often called setting, leading or knocking down bone depending on game rules – before playing their entire hand of bones to move to the next round. Once all their bones have been played they are out.

Dominoes games involve stacking dominoes side-by-side until their dots match, or form some total; this process is known as going out. When everyone has reached this state, the winner is determined by who remains with the most remaining dominoes after everyone else has gone out.

A double-six set is the most widely played type of domino, consisting of 28 pieces: seven doubles with identical numbers on both ends (ranging from double blank to double six) and 21 singles without numbers or blanks; doubles have higher value than singles due to being connected together to form longer chains.

Michael Lind advanced an alternative interpretation of the domino theory which holds that, even though Communist revolutions in some nations did not produce an immediate domino effect in other nations, their successes did provide moral and rhetorical support to revolutionary forces elsewhere. This interpretation is known as global domino hypothesis or domino theory.

Fiction writers may find the “domino effect” a useful tool when trying to build momentum within their novels. By studying patterns in successive scenes, authors may discover ways to make those scenes more believable and exciting for readers.

While some writers compose their manuscripts quickly, others take time and care in creating an outline before diving in to writing. No matter their approach, all writers must answer one central question: What happens next? Plotting novels using the domino effect as a metaphor can ensure plausible yet engaging answers. Authors in all genres can benefit from using this technique when plotting.

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