How to Write a Domino Effect Scene

A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block with a face marked by an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. The other face is blank or identically patterned. The word domino (pronounced DOMIN-uh) also refers to a game played with such blocks, and to a chain of events predicted by such games.

We’ve all seen it in action: just one piece tipped ever so slightly, and the rest fall in a cascade of rhythmic movement. This is called the Domino Effect, and it’s an essential part of the way stories work: every scene should be positioned precisely in order to provide the perfect effect for the next one.

But how can we be sure a story will work like this? If we’re writing a novel, how do we know if our scenes are spaced correctly, or if the plot will unravel in an uninteresting way? And how do we ensure that our characters are reacting to events in a way that’s logically consistent with their emotional shifts and progression?

The first step is to look at the overall pace of the story. The story needs to move along at a brisk, steady pace that makes the reader want to see what happens next. This means that the scenes must be well spaced, but not too long (which could feel slow and overly detailed), or too short, which might leave readers feeling like they didn’t get to see enough action at a key moment in the story.

The second step is to look at the structure of the scene. This includes the pacing and the dialogue, but it also includes the way that the scene relates to the story as a whole. Is the scene setting a stage for the character’s journey, or does it simply fill in some background detail? Is it the first step of a longer sequence of scenes, or is it the final part of the narrative arc?

For example, if we’re writing a scene that introduces the main character, then we should make sure that it is placed at the beginning of a sequence. This will make it easier for the reader to follow the character’s development and give a sense of where the story is going. Similarly, we might also want to place a scene at the end of a chapter or in the middle of a narrative arc to signal to the reader that this is a moment where the character is about to change direction or experience some kind of major life event.