The Domino Effect in Fiction


Dominoes are rectangular pieces of varying sizes that feature an arrangement of spots, or “pips,” on one side and are blank on the other. Each domino has a value, which may be determined by its number of pips or by the fact that it is a double. In positional games, each player in turn places a domino edge to edge against another in such a way that the pips of the two matching sides are adjacent or form some specified total.

This type of domino chain can be built in many ways, but the game is best played on a hard surface to prevent the tiles from sliding around and to make it easier for players to pick up and move the tiles. Each domino is also marked with a color and/or symbol, which allows the players to keep track of their hand during play. If a tile has a blank side, it is called wild and can be ascribed any value by its opponent.

Like playing cards, of which they are a variant, each domino is divided, by line or ridge, into two squares, each of which is marked with an arrangement of spots, or “pips,” similar to those on a die, except that some squares are blank (indicated in the listing below by a zero). The value of each domino is indicated by its number of pips or, in the case of a double, by the fact that it has two matching sides.

The company grew rapidly, and by 1967, the first official franchise location opened in Ypsilanti. This was a strategic decision: Monaghan positioned these first locations near college campuses, where he could attract young customers who were looking for quick and easy pizza delivery. This strategy proved successful and fueled rapid growth, resulting in over 200 Domino’s stores by 1978.

Whether you write your manuscript off the cuff or with careful outlines, it’s important to consider the Domino Effect in your plotting. If a scene doesn’t logically connect to the scenes that precede it, or doesn’t have enough impact on the story as a whole, it will likely fall flat.

The Domino Effect is how a single event can cause ripples of change across a community, organization, or even the entire world. This principle is at the heart of the Domino Effect Leadership Academy, an online course that teaches leaders how to create and sustain positive change in their teams and organizations. This course is available on-demand from any computer or mobile device. To learn more, click here. This article originally appeared on The Domino Effect Leadership Academy blog. Domino Effect is a division of The Economist Group.