A small rectangular wood or plastic block with a line down the middle to divide it visually into two squares, each of which may have a number of spots—called pips—or be blank. Dominoes are like dice or playing cards in that they can be used to play a variety of games. The most popular domino sets are double-six; however, larger sets exist with more pips on each end. A domino that has more pips on one end is considered to have a higher value than a domino with fewer pips on each end.
In a game of domino, players place a tile on the table positioning it so that the two matching ends are touching. Normally, a domino is placed perpendicular to its adjacent side so that it is touching both of the sides that have pips on them. The tiles are then stacked in a long chain called a “domino pile” that grows longer as each player takes turns adding a new tile to the stack. A domino pile can form a snake-line or other configuration.
The word domino can also be used to describe a series of events that have much greater–and sometimes catastrophic–consequences than might have been expected from the initial action. This concept is referred to as the “domino effect.” The word domino has also been used to refer to the pattern of how nerve impulses travel down a cellular fiber, or axon.
When someone is hit by a car, the impact can cause other injuries that affect multiple body parts and systems. This phenomenon is often referred to as the domino effect, and can be caused by anything from a bump on the head to something more serious, such as a brain tumor or paralysis.
Another use of the word domino is to refer to a game played with a set of dominoes, or a person who plays a dominoes game. The game is similar to bridge, but instead of being played on a board with cards, the pieces are arranged on a table in long lines. Each time a domino is tipped over, it causes the next domino in the row to tip over as well and so on. This can result in complex designs and a domino chain that may last for several rows.
If you have ever constructed a domino chain or have watched a person do so, you might have noticed that the dominoes must be carefully spaced if they are to fall in a successful cascade. This same principle applies to stories. Whether you write your novel off the cuff or go over it in detail, you must have a clear idea of what happens in your story and how it will lead to the next scene or plot point. Otherwise, the story will feel uneven and choppy. For example, if your hero does something immoral or outside of societal norms, you must have a solid reason for him to do so in order for readers to follow his logic and accept his actions as logical.