The Domino Effect

The Domino Effect

Dominoes, cousins of playing cards and dice, are a type of gaming device that can be used to play a variety of games. They are most often stacked on end in long lines, with one domino on top of another. When the first domino is tipped over, it causes the next domino in line to tip, and so on, creating intricate designs or long chains of events. This has led to the popular expression, the Domino Effect, which describes the way one event can have larger ramifications than might seem possible.

Like dominoes, stories can have the same kind of chain reaction if their scenes are spaced and paced correctly. Storymakers have to be careful not to overload a scene with too many details, or let it become too short and lack momentum. A great story needs scenes that advance the hero toward or away from a goal, and the scenes need to be in a rhythm that keeps readers engaged.

One of the reasons that dominoes work so well as a metaphor is that they are so simple and easy to understand. A single domino only requires a slight nudge to knock it over, because of the high center of gravity. It takes very little energy to get the domino to its destination, but the power of the sequence is tremendous.

The same can be said about storylines in fiction and nonfiction. The key to success is to take small, simple steps that will lead to great outcomes in the end.

For example, if you want to start exercising more, but you’re not sure how to fit it into your schedule, start by scheduling just 30 minutes of activity a day, and add more time as you see progress. The goal is to create a pattern that will eventually lead to healthy habits, which can have positive consequences for all aspects of your life.

Domino, from the Latin dominium, is a word with a rich history. Its roots go back to the 14th century, when it first appeared as a term for both a hooded garment worn over a masquerade mask and a type of game that involved tumbling or stacking pieces on their ends in order to form patterns or pictures. The modern sense of the word, with its association with a game of chance and strategy, began to appear around 1750. The word combines elements of Latin and French, with its origins in the latter possibly influenced by an even earlier sense of the garment, a black cape worn by a priest over a white surplice at carnival or a masquerade. This article has been programmatically compiled from various online sources and may not reflect current usage.