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# The Domino Effect – How a Small Nudge Can Cause a Cascade

#### The Domino Effect: How a Small Nudge Can Cause a Cascade

The domino effect refers to the way that a small change can cause a chain reaction with far-reaching effects. It’s important for writers to consider how this concept can be applied to their stories. As we work to craft our narratives, understanding how the domino effect can be used will help us to develop more effective and compelling stories.

A domino is a small rectangular block of wood, bone, or plastic that is marked on one side with an arrangement of spots that resemble those on dice. It has a line down the middle to divide it visually into two squares, called ends. The ends may be identical or differ from each other in number of dots (referred to as “pips”), which determine a domino’s value. A domino is usually twice as long as it is wide, which allows it to be stacked on top of each other.

Dominoes are used for gaming in a variety of ways, from simple block-laying games to complex pattern-matching and scoring games. Most of these games involve a number of players and a set of rules governing the play of each domino. In addition to traditional blocking and scoring games, dominoes can also be used for solitaire or trick-taking games. These games were often popular as an alternative to playing cards in areas where there were religious prohibitions against it.

Most domino games require a set of 28 tiles, which are shuffled and then arranged on the table to form the stock or boneyard. Each player draws seven tiles for his hand. The players then place their hands on the dominoes, so that they can see their own hand but not the other players’ values. When the first domino is played, the players then try to match it with another domino of equal value in a row already formed by the line of play. Dominoes are joined to the existing line of play in either of two ways: doubles, and only doubles, are played crosswise; singles must be played lengthwise.

When a player cannot play any further tiles for his hand, he must draw new tiles from the stock and then reshuffle the bones before beginning again. In case no new hands are drawn, the winner of the previous game can open the next game by playing a domino with a value that matches the highest of the already-formed lines of dominoes.

Dominoes have inertia, which means that they tend to resist motion when there is no external force acting on them. However, a small nudge can release the potential energy in the dominoes and send them tumbling. Similarly, a writer must know how to push and pull on her scenes to make them compel the reader to continue reading. The right pace and the correct timing are essential in ensuring that the story unfolds with a smooth flow. If a scene is too long, the reader will lose interest; if it’s too short, the plot can be choppy and difficult to follow.