Writing Fiction With Dominoes

Writing Fiction With Dominoes

A domino is a small rectangular block that bears an arrangement of spots, like those on a die, on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. A domino may also be referred to as a tumblingblock, a bone, or a card. A domino game is played by two or more players. Some domino games require blocking; others involve scoring. Some are adaptations of card games, once popular to circumvent religious proscriptions against the use of cards.

When Lily Hevesh was 9, her grandparents gave her a classic 28-piece set of dominoes. She fell in love with them, and she now spends her time creating spectacular domino constructions for movies, TV shows, and events—including the album launch of pop singer Katy Perry. Hevesh’s work demonstrates an important principle: Dominoes have inertia, or a tendency to resist motion. Yet, a tiny nudge is all it takes to make them fall in a beautiful cascade of rhythmic movement.

Similarly, in fiction writing, each scene domino is inert by itself, but when you combine them, they create momentum that naturally pushes the next scene along. This concept is known as the “domino effect,” and it’s an essential tool to develop a story that flows from one scene to the next.

Domino has been played for hundreds of years, and a variety of different rules and formats exist. Most domino games are based on the same basic idea: a player draws a number of bones and must then play a piece that matches one or more open ends of the layout before all opponents. The first player to do so wins the hand and moves on to the next round.

Most dominoes have a specific pattern of pips (or spots) that identify them as belonging to one or more suits. A single domino has only a single suit, while doubles belong to either the 3 or 5 suit. Some sets have all pips on one end, while others have a mixed pattern.

The most common domino sets contain a total of 22 bones, but larger sets are available to accommodate more players. For example, a double-twelve set (91 tiles) or a double-nine set (55 tiles) can be used to play four players. Some players also choose to use “extended” sets that introduce additional combinations of ends, increasing the maximum number of unique pieces in a set.