The Domino Effect


A domino is a flat tile that bears from one to six dots or pips. A set contains 28 of these tiles. A domino is used to play various games of position. In positional games each player in turn places a domino edge to edge against another such that the adjacent faces are either identical or form some specified total. Players may also use dominoes to create artistic arrangements of tiles in lines and angular patterns.

A physicist who has studied dominoes notes that when a domino is stood upright, it stores potential energy in the shape of its pips. When the domino is tipped over, much of this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy as it falls and pushes its neighbors to topple in a chain reaction. This gives rise to the term “domino effect” describing situations in which a small initial action leads to greater-than-expected results.

In Domino’s, a popular pizza franchise, a domino effect is the reason that the company has remained competitive. After a period of declining sales, the founder of Domino’s, Tom Doyle, reorganized the company. He focused on picking the most important tasks for each day and giving them his full attention until they were completed. This strategy allowed him to make progress toward the overall goal of increasing the company’s revenue.

When a domino is tipped over, the pips on its surface cause the neighboring dominoes to fall as well. This process continues until the last domino on the line tips over, thereby setting off a chain of events that can result in an impressive display. Domino’s has used this concept to attract customers and promote its brand.

Domino artists, like Hevesh, are able to make complex arrangements using dominoes. She started collecting them when she was 9 years old and began posting videos of her creations online. Her YouTube channel now has more than 2 million subscribers. Hevesh tests out each section of a setup to ensure that it works before putting the entire thing together. She says the most important element is to make sure that the largest 3-D sections work first, followed by the flat arrangements and finally the lines of dominoes that connect them all together.

Hevesh has worked with movie makers and musicians to create spectacular domino reactions for filming and performances. Her work has been featured in movies such as Frozen and in music videos for Katy Perry’s song, The Climb.

As a writer, you can use the concept of the domino effect to create dramatic scenes in your novels and stories. However, you must carefully select the dominoes. The most effective dominoes are those that help readers understand the logic of a scene and give them permission to continue following the hero’s path, even if it runs counter to what they might think is logical or ethical. For example, if your hero is going to shoot someone or cheat on his wife, you must provide the reader with enough motivation and explanation so that they keep following the hero and accept his immoral actions as heroic.