Planning and Building a Domino Set

Domino is a name given to an entire family of games, building blocks, and other toys that are distinguished by the fact that they are marked with dots on all four sides. The dots, called pips, are usually of different colors and arrange themselves in a pattern similar to those on the face of a die. These pips allow the dominoes to be matched with other tiles to form a line or shape, and they are used to score points in the games.

The word “domino” may also refer to a theory that suggests that a rise or fall in a country’s influence will have a cascading effect, like a series of falling dominoes, in other countries. It is also the name of a popular song by Steve Wariner, an album by Weather Report, and an article by the magazine Scientific American.

As early as the 12th or 13th century, people in China were playing dominoes, though they did not use the term. A record from that time, the Chu sz yam (Investigations on the Traditions of All Things), states that dominoes were invented by a statesman in 1120 CE. This is disputed by other scholars, who consider the document to be an early history of Chinese culture, and they believe that dominoes were already being played in Asia before this date.

Hevesh, whose YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers, creates mind-blowing domino setups for movies and other events. The largest of her sets can take several nail-biting minutes for each domino to fall, and the process requires a great deal of energy to plan and build.

When composing scenes in fiction, writers must keep the momentum moving along. Scenes must be long enough to advance the hero’s journey or reveal plot points but not so long that they become weighed down by detail and minutiae. They must also be spaced correctly so that they feel paced and energetic. Just as dominoes are lined up in an order that makes them tumble according to physics, stories need scenes that are properly spaced so that they have the best chance of working together well.

Whether you write off the cuff or carefully plot your manuscript, the most important question is, what happens next? Thinking about how to pace your scenes like dominoes can help you write a story that readers will want to read. The right balance of pace and detail will create a story that is compelling and memorable.