What is Domino?

Domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, marked with an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. The other side is blank or identically patterned. Dominoes are used in games such as dominoes and chinese checkers, where the goal is to build up a sequence of squares that ends with one or more empty spaces, thereby triggering the next tile to fall down. Often, a player begins by drawing the heaviest tiles in his hand. Once all players have completed their draws, the first player (determined by either drawing lots or by who has the heaviest hand) places the first tile on the table. Then each subsequent tile is placed in a matching fashion, either on top of or perpendicular to the previous tile. Depending on the rules of a particular game, doubles count as one or two (for example, a 6-6 counts as 12), and the shape of the resulting chain will vary according to space constraints and the players’ whims.

Domino is also a verb, meaning “to cause to fall or slide over.” A domino effect is the phenomenon of an event or series of events that lead to a result that would not have occurred in the absence of the earlier event or set of events. For example, the collapse of the housing market in 2008 was the result of a long chain of events that began with a default on a mortgage loan. The chain of events was ultimately too big to stop, and the collapse of the financial system triggered a global meltdown and a recession.

When a domino falls, much of its potential energy turns into kinetic energy, which in turn provides the push for the next domino to fall. The process continues until all the dominoes have fallen.

For writers, a domino image can be helpful in the plotting process. The idea is that each scene or paragraph acts like a domino, helping to advance the plot by influencing the scene ahead of it. This concept can be especially helpful to writers who use a pantser writing style, meaning they do not make detailed outlines or plot ahead of time. Those who write by the seat of their pants often end up with scenes that do not adequately connect to the scene before it.

While some people think the phrase “domino effect” is overused, it can have a valid meaning in certain circumstances. For example, if someone starts to do something wrong in the workplace and it results in several other workers having a bad work performance, this can have a negative domino effect on the organization as a whole. This is why some companies have implemented domino effect policies to protect themselves against this type of situation. Having a policy in place helps ensure that managers know how to handle this situation before it escalates. Essentially, this is an example of the “prevention is better than cure” mantra.