# The Power of Dominoes

The word domino evokes images of a chain reaction — one thing knocking over another until a whole lot of things are toppled. And this domino effect is much more powerful than we might think. In fact, according to a 1983 study by University of British Columbia physicist Lorne Whitehead, dominoes have the power to knock over objects about one-and-a-half times their size. And when you combine a bunch of dominoes, they can actually destroy an entire building.

Dominoes are the foundation of many popular games and activities, from simple childhood favorites to elaborate designs crafted by professional domino artists. When you play a game of domino, each tile has either a number or a blank side, and the numbers can be matched in a variety of ways to form chains or other patterns. The number on a side of a domino is referred to as its pips. Each pips has a particular meaning in different games. For example, a single pips is worth only 1 point; however, when combined with other numbers, it can form an even larger number that may have different effects in the game.

Unlike a standard set of playing cards, which can be used to make any kind of game, dominoes are made with specific rules that govern how they are used. The most common domino game has two players, who alternately place tiles on the table. The first player to complete his or her line of play wins the game. Players then draw the remaining tiles from a pool called the stock, or sometimes the “stock pile.” If the game is a buy-in game, then the amount of pips on the tiles in the stock that have not been played will be added to the winning player’s score.

If a person is not playing in a buy-in game, the remaining tiles in the stock may be bought (see “Passing and Byeing” below). In addition to this rule, each player must follow the general rules of the specific domino game being played. For example, a player must place each new tile on the table so that its adjacent ends are touching (unless it is a double). This is referred to as “stitching up” the ends.

When Hevesh creates one of her amazing domino setups, it can take several nail-biting minutes for the entire display to fall over once she’s finished. This is because the thousands of unmoving dominoes have inertia, or a tendency to resist motion. A tiny nudge, however, can change that inertia and begin the domino effect.

Just like the domino effect, a novel’s plot is an ongoing series of reactions and events that build upon each other. Whether you write your novel off the cuff or use a careful outline, every scene in your story is a domino that influences what happens next. Consider each scene in your novel as a domino, and be sure the scenes you write logically connect to each other.