How Domino Connects to Other Scenes in Your Novel


When a domino falls, it converts some of its potential energy to kinetic energy. That energy travels to the next domino in line, giving it the push it needs to fall. And so on, until the last domino tumbles to the ground with a satisfying thunk. This is the magic that fascinates many spectators who attend domino shows. It’s also a perfect analogy for how plot works in novels. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or use Scrivener to help you organize and outline your scene beats, you can think of each scene in your novel as a domino. Each scene should fit in carefully with the scenes before and after it, generating tension and propelling the narrative forward. But if one scene doesn’t connect to the others, you will have created a mess instead of an engaging story. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix that. You just need to nudge the domino.

Domino is a flat thumb-sized rectangular block, bearing an arrangement of dots or spots, one to six, on its face: 28 such pieces make up a full set of dominoes. Each domino has two rounded ends that are either blank or identically patterned, like the faces of playing cards. The identifying marks on the front of a domino are called pips, while the back of the piece is usually solid or textured to allow for gripping.

In many domino games, players draw a number of tiles from the stock and then place them in a line known as the line of play. The player who draws the heaviest tile makes the first play. A tie is broken by drawing additional tiles from the stock until a winner is declared. In some cases, the line of play may be interrupted by the purchase of new dominoes from other players.

The basic rules listed here apply to most of the domino games shown on this website. However, there are also several games with slightly different rules. For example, some games require the line of play to be played lengthwise, while others must be played crosswise. Also, some dominoes are doubles while others are singles.

Lily Hevesh began collecting and building dominoes when she was 9 years old. Her grandparents had the classic 28-piece set, and she loved putting them in a straight or curved line and flicking the first domino to watch the whole row fall. Now Hevesh is a professional domino artist who has amassed over 2 million YouTube subscribers with videos of her mind-blowing creations. She follows a version of the engineering-design process when creating her domino setups. To start, she considers the theme or purpose of a particular installation and brainstorms images and words that come to mind. She then creates a sketch of the design and tests it. If the test proves successful, she starts assembling the dominoes and then adding details. If she can’t figure out a way to make a particular part of the domino work, she moves on to another section.