Dominoes and Plotting

When we think of a domino, we most likely think of the game in which players place tiles end-to-end to form chains of dominoes that can be knocked over. However, the word domino can also be used in other ways and carries several meanings.

In mathematics, a domino is a polyomino of order 2. It’s made up of two equal-sized squares connected edge-to-edge and can be rotated or reflected so that the edges match. A domino can also be flipped to change its orientation or enlarged so that the entire shape matches another one.

Domino Effect

In a novel, the domino effect is an important part of plotting and can be used to create a powerful story. This effect occurs when a small setback causes a series of events that ultimately affect the outcome of the story. For example, if a character gets into an argument with their partner, it could lead to other issues in their relationship, which might then have consequences that affect other relationships within the family. Whether you write your manuscript off the cuff or spend time with a detailed outline, plotting is all about ensuring that the reader understands what happens next.

Dominoes are a fun way to pass the time and can be played with a group of friends or family members. The rules vary but in general, each player in turn places a tile onto the table. The tile must be placed so that it touches one of the ends of a domino chain already on the table. If the exposed ends total any number (normally a multiple of five) then that number is awarded to the player. Then the next player plays a tile touching both sides of the previous domino and so on.

When a domino is placed correctly, it builds up an exciting, colorful, snake-lined pattern. This is called the domino effect and it happens because of a phenomenon known as momentum. When a domino falls, much of its potential energy converts into kinetic energy, the energy that drives it forward and causes it to knock over the rest of the dominoes. Some of this energy is transferred to the next domino, which provides the push needed to knock over that one and so on.

To make her mind-blowing installations, Hevesh starts with a theme and then brainstorms images or words that might relate to it. She then tests different sections of the setup to make sure they work properly before putting them together. The biggest 3-D sections go up first followed by flat arrangements. She also films test versions of the setup so she can pause and make fine-tune adjustments.

The power of the domino effect has even been demonstrated in a scientific experiment. University of British Columbia physicist Lorne Whitehead has shown that a domino can knock down things about a-and-a-half times its size. The first domino in the series was so tiny—5 millimeters tall and only 1 mm thick—that it needed to be set up with tweezers.