Using Dominoes in Writing


Domino is a tile-based table game in which players take turns placing dominoes end to end on the edge of one another. A player scores points when the exposed ends of two dominoes match, with the sum of the pips on both matching ends being the total score. The player who is awarded the most points after a specified number of rounds wins the game.

The most common domino sets contain 28 double-six tiles. Larger sets exist, and some include multiple suits of dominoes based on the numbers and colors of the dots. Each domino features a line in the middle to divide it visually into two squares, called ends. Each end is marked with a value, often called pips, which range from six to zero. Each domino is also typically twice as long as it is wide, making it easier to re-stack it after use.

While most domino games involve blocking and scoring, other types of play exist as well. These are usually derived from card games, and may have been popular in some areas to circumvent religious restrictions on playing cards. These include blocker games, such as bergen and muggins; scoring games, including monopoly and domino eagle; and domino variants, such as solitaire.

In a domino show, builders set up a series of hundreds or thousands of individual dominoes lined up in careful sequence before an audience of fans. When the dominoes are tipped over by a single person, they set off a chain reaction that is spectacular to watch. The excitement comes from seeing a massive lineup of dominoes, each carefully placed to topple with a single nudge.

Dominoes are also used to create art. These pieces may be as simple as straight lines, curved lines that form shapes such as hearts or flowers, or a grid that forms a picture when the dominoes fall. Some people even make 3D structures such as towers and pyramids out of dominoes.

Using dominoes in writing can help with plotting. While you might not be able to build a domino track for your novel, you can consider the effect of each plot beat in your book by thinking of each domino as an event that triggers a different reaction in the next chapter or scene. For example, if a character’s friend dies, then the main character might react by going to visit that friend’s family or going on a date.

The domino effect can be seen in real life, too. For instance, the physics of a domino effect is explained by gravity. When a domino is stood upright, it has potential energy, which is its stored energy based on its position. When the domino falls, most of this energy is converted to kinetic energy, which causes other dominoes to topple. Whether you’re trying to write a short story or an epic novel, the domino effect can be a valuable tool for creating suspense.