The Domino Effect in Writing


A domino is a small, thumb-sized rectangular block of wood or ivory with two faces, each bearing from one to six dots (or pips) or blanks. A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 such pieces. A domino may be used in a variety of games. It is also a noun, referring to the act of playing with such blocks.

Domino has become an important part of the world’s culture, and there are many different types of domino games. The basic rule is that a player begins by placing a single domino on the table. The next player then places a domino on top of that, and so on. The last player to place a domino wins the game.

There are also many different shapes that a domino can be made into, and these can be used to create interesting sculptures or to play the game of Dominoes. The rules of these games are somewhat complex, and a good reference is The Great Book of Domino Games.

One of the most important lessons to be learned from Domino is that a small nudge can have a large effect. If a domino sits unmoved for too long, it will have inertia and resist motion. However, a tiny nudge can cause it to tip over and begin a chain reaction that will continue until all the other dominoes have fallen.

The same principle applies to writing. If you want your story to move forward, then each scene must have logical impact on the scenes that come before and after it. Otherwise, your story won’t make sense.

This is especially true if you’re a pantser writer, that is, if you don’t write out detailed outlines ahead of time. If you’re a pantser, it’s easy to end up with scenes that–to use the domino analogy again–are at the wrong angle or don’t have enough logical impact on the scene that came before it.

Domino’s success in turning around its slowing sales is a result of their emphasis on listening to customers. When David Brandon was CEO, he and other leaders focused on revamping the company’s culture to focus on employees. This included relaxing the dress code, implementing new leadership training programs, and speaking directly to workers about their concerns.

If you’re writing a story that involves an action that runs counter to societal norms, then you must provide the logic and motivation for your readers to give that character a pass or at least keep liking him/her. Otherwise, your readers won’t buy into the “domino effect” of that action. For example, if your hero shoots someone, you must show him/her the reason why this is justified or else your reader will stop caring about the character. This is why you must always think about the impact of your story on the reader before you begin writing it. It’s the only way to ensure that the effect you’re creating will be a positive one.