When you hear the word domino, it probably brings to mind a game of the same name where players set up small square blocks in long lines and then tip them over. This causes a chain reaction that continues until all the dominoes fall. Dominoes are often used to create art, and they can also be a tool for creating change. For example, the author Jennifer Dukes Lee created a new habit of making her bed each day by breaking it down into “good dominoes.” Once she completed these tiny tasks, they led to bigger changes, like her entire house becoming cleaner and more organized. Good dominoes are tasks that contribute to a goal, and they’re usually challenging and require a chunk of time and focus.
While dominoes are most often associated with gaming, they can be used in many ways, including to build relationships and inspire positive behaviors. A few examples include encouraging children to practice good hygiene and promoting social responsibility among adults. Creating these “dominoes” can have the effect of shifting one’s perspective and influencing personal beliefs and identity.
In most games, each domino has a number on either side and is arranged in a grid or pattern with one or more open ends. The player who plays a tile whose end shows this number first wins. Depending on the rules, the number of pips on an opposing player’s tiles can be counted or a combination of numbers is awarded to a winner, such as 6-6 (or 1-6). The winning partner in a multi-round game wins the most points after a specified number of rounds.
Hevesh began playing with dominoes as a child, and she’s now a professional domino artist who creates spectacular domino setups for movies and events, and has a popular YouTube channel where she posts videos of her work. She uses a version of the engineering-design process to create her projects, and she carefully tests each section before adding them together.
The most common dominoes have a maximum of 28 tiles on the two longest sides. To play with more than four people, some sets have more tiles. These are called “extended.” For example, double-nine dominoes have 55 tiles and double-12 has 91. Larger extended sets exist, but they’re rarely seen in use and would be difficult to manage for the most common domino games.
When a domino falls, the potential energy of the rest of the dominoes converts to kinetic energy, which propels them forward. This energy is transferred to the next domino, which pushes on the one that just fell and starts another chain reaction. The process continues until the last domino falls, and this is the underlying principle behind the term “domino effect,” which refers to a series of events that leads to larger–and sometimes catastrophic–consequences. The same principle applies to the plotting of a novel, whether you write off-the-cuff or take your time with a detailed outline. Whatever you do, a little planning can help you avoid the most common mistakes that cause stories to flop and ruin a reader’s experience.