Domino is a generic term that refers to any of the many games played with a set of dominoes—small rectangular blocks, each bearing from one to six pips (or dots) that are used for marking positions. The most common dominoes are the classic 28-piece sets, although extended sets with more pips are available. People use dominoes to create intricate lines and angular patterns in addition to merely knocking them over.
The most common game of dominoes involves a single player placing a domino on top of another in such a way that the adjacent ends match, or “touch,” and then completing a specified total. Traditionally, play stops when the last remaining domino cannot be played and the players then declare winners.
While the traditional game of dominoes focuses on positional combinations, it is also possible to play a number of arithmetic and strategy games. In fact, a domino is a good tool for teaching basic math and logic to children.
For professional domino artists, such as Lily Hevesh, who has a YouTube channel with more than 2 million subscribers, the art of the setup comes down to understanding physics and using that knowledge to make each piece work together in harmony. For Hevesh, the key is gravity, which she says allows her to “create the most amazing designs.” When a domino is toppled, much of its potential energy is converted to kinetic energy (energy in motion) and transmitted to the next domino, which then gives it the push needed to fall. And so on, until the last domino is flipped over.
As each domino moves toward its destination, it leaves behind a trail of tiny ripples that eventually spread outward from the center of the pile. Hevesh sees this as a metaphor for the effect of an idea on a larger population, explaining that “just like a domino pile, the impact can be much greater than you might imagine.”
Hevesh uses her understanding of the laws of physics to guide her creations and test each individual section before assembling them into a full-scale installation. She often works in 3-D, building structures and arrangements with a variety of shapes, and starts with the biggest sections first. Hevesh also tests out each part of the final arrangement in slow motion, which helps her spot and correct any flaws in her work.
When writing a story, the process of plotting usually boils down to one question: What happens next? Considering how to use the domino effect in your novel can help you answer that question in a compelling manner. Click through to learn how to make your novel’s scenes ripple outward in the most compelling ways. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or follow a careful outline, this technique can help ensure that all of your scene dominoes fall in the right place at the right time. Then your readers can enjoy the full effects of your plot.