When you think of the word domino, the first thing that might come to mind is the popular game of stacking them on their ends and then knocking them over. You might also think of the phrase “domino effect,” which describes a series of events that start off small but eventually lead to larger and sometimes catastrophic consequences.
Dominoes are small rectangular blocks used as gaming pieces. They are normally twice as long as they are wide, and each side may contain a number of spots or pips. The number of pips on each side determines the value of the piece (for example, double-six means it is worth six points). Dominoes can be used for many types of games. In some, a player places a single domino edge to edge against another in such a way that the adjacent faces match, for example, five to five or three to three. Other games involve placing a group of dominoes into a row or rectangle, and the first one to reach the end wins.
Regardless of the specific rules of each game, all dominoes have something in common: they are all based on the principle of the domino effect. Each domino starts off with a slight movement, which then causes the other dominoes to tip over in a chain reaction. These movements can continue for a very long time, creating impressive and even complex designs.
The domino effect is also an important concept in physics and mathematics. Physicist Stephen Morris explains the basics: “When you set a domino upright, it stores potential energy based on its position. When you flip that domino, it converts some of its potential energy to kinetic energy, which gives the next domino the push it needs to fall.”
Lily Hevesh has been creating mind-blowing domino setups since she was 9 years old. Her grandparents gave her a classic 28-piece set, and she loved setting them up in straight or curved lines and then flicking the first domino to watch the rest fall. She now has a YouTube channel called Hevesh5 where she shares her amazing creations.
In her videos, Hevesh demonstrates how to create a variety of different kinds of domino art, including stacked walls, a shaped house, grids that form pictures when they fall, and 3D structures like towers and pyramids. She begins each domino project by considering the theme or purpose of the piece, brainstorming images and words, and then planning out her layout.
As Hevesh puts it, “When I start with a design and put it into motion, that’s when the magic happens.” The domino effect is a great tool for writers, too. Whether you write off the cuff or carefully outline your manuscript, plotting a novel comes down to answering one basic question: What happens next? Considering how to incorporate the domino effect into your story can help you craft a more compelling narrative.