The Domino Effect in Fiction

Domino is a game of chance and skill. It requires a keen eye and quick reaction to avoid being trapped by an opponent’s play. Dominoes are typically arranged on the table in a line of play, with each player holding a set of seven tiles. These tiles form the “stock” or “boneyard,” which the players draw from as they make their plays. Each tile has a number of spots, called “pips,” indicating its value, from six down to none or blank. Each player must position his or her domino so that the number on one end of the tile matches that on another end of the line of play.

When a player draws more tiles than he or she is entitled to, the extras are known as an overdraw. The player to the right of the overdrawn hand takes the excess tiles without looking at them and returns them to the stock, where they are reshuffled before the next player draws his or her hand. This is a standard procedure in all games of domino, although there are many variations on this basic rule.

A domino can be pushed in any direction but is only effective when it is positioned so that its center of gravity is aligned with the center of force pushing it forward. This is why it only takes a small nudge to cause a domino to fall over. In fact, the domino effect is so strong that it’s a major component of the physics behind many amazing domino shows in which builders create massive chains and reactions in front of an audience.

Like dominoes, a novel’s scenes are inert until they’re positioned properly to influence the scene that comes after them. Whether you’re a pantser who writes off the cuff or a meticulous planner who uses Scrivener to structure your manuscript, it’s important to consider the domino effect when planning your story.

In fiction, a scene domino is a single element that contributes to the overall effect of a story. When the impact of the scene is clear, the scene will naturally compel the reader to turn the page. Whether your character uncovers an important clue or the antagonist makes a provocative statement, each scene is a domino in the narrative of your story. Using the concept of the scene domino in your writing will help you craft a compelling plot.