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When you think of domino, you probably picture a long line of little squares arranged in a straight or curved pattern. When you flick the first one, all the others fall into place. They may even form a shape like a house or a tree. You can create even more elaborate patterns with dominoes when you use them to make 3D art. But the most fascinating thing about domino is how they work together to form a chain reaction that causes everything to happen at once.
This concept of domino has many parallels to the way writers plot novels. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or plan each scene carefully, plotting a story ultimately comes down to one question: What happens next? And if you can answer this question with a satisfying sequence of events, your readers will be left with an unforgettable impression of your book.
Dominoes are popular toys for children, and adults of all ages enjoy the challenge of setting up a series of them and then knocking them over. But these little white and black tiles can also serve as a metaphor for life. For example, they are often used as a way to illustrate the importance of prioritizing tasks. A child might put the biggest, most important task at the top of her list and concentrate on it until it’s completed. It might not be the only thing a child does that day, but it will have the biggest impact. The rest of the day’s activities will be shaped by that one task. In business, this principle can be applied to a company’s vision and mission, as well as individual projects. For instance, former Bethlehem Steel CEO Steve Schwab encouraged his employees to focus on the most important tasks of the day and not worry about anything else. He called this the “main domino.” If you could complete the main domino, all other tasks would follow.
Lily Hevesh began playing with dominoes when she was 9 years old and loved arranging them in lines, then flicking the first one to see the whole thing fall. She grew up to become a professional domino artist and now has 2 million YouTube subscribers who watch her build amazing setups. To ensure that a final installation works properly, Hevesh tests each section of a project on its own and then assembles it.
The word domino came from the Latin for “flip” or “slide.” It appeared in English around 1750 and in French shortly thereafter. It had an earlier sense in both languages, however, referring to a long, hooded cloak worn over a mask at a carnival or at a masquerade ball. It may have also referred to the cape worn by a priest over his surplice. The domino is the largest piece of this enigmatic garment.