The Domino Effect in Writing


Domino is a game piece or set of tiles that are marked with one or more arranged groups of dots, called pips. These pips are arranged in a pattern similar to that of the spots on a die, although some of the pips are blank (marked with a zero). The word domino is also used to refer to a series of actions that produce a cascade effect.

Unlike playing cards, each domino is twice as long as it is wide. This makes it easier to re-stack the pieces after use. Most domino games are played in a positional manner. The players alternately place dominoes edge to edge against each other in a line until all the opponents have completed their lines. The player with the highest total value of their dominoes wins the game. This total is calculated by counting the number of pips on opposing players’ remaining tiles. Doubles count as one or two depending on the rules of the game and blanks can count as either 0 or 14.

The term domino derives from the Latin word dominus, meaning “lord.” The name may also be associated with a blockade or a military tactic, and its association with blocking suggests that a person with the domino title is aware of the consequences of his or her decisions. This awareness may be the key to a domino leader’s success.

According to physicist Stephen Morris, when you pick up a domino and stand it upright, the domino stores energy in the form of potential energy. When you then drop the domino, the energy changes to kinetic energy as it moves through space. This change from potential to kinetic energy is what causes the domino to topple.

In writing, the domino effect is a common metaphor for an action sequence that runs counter to what readers expect from the characters or the story. If you want to create an effective domino scene, it’s important that you provide the reader with enough logic to allow them to give the character a pass for the immoral act or at least understand why the character would do what they did.

Domino’s founder, David Brandon, recognized that the company needed to do a better job listening to its employees. He instituted a dress code and leadership training program that addressed some of the major complaints the company had been receiving from customers. Domino’s current CEO, Patrick Doyle, has continued to listen to employee feedback and promote the company’s core values. He has even taken the time to speak with employees directly, a practice that may have helped him win a Top Workplaces Leadership Award from the Detroit Free Press in 2017.