DayNovember 15, 2023

Writing a Novel Like Dominoes

Domino is a tile-based game that enables players to build chains of numbered tiles. Each domino has an identity-bearing side and a blank or identically patterned side. The identifying side has an arrangement of dots, called “pips,” similar to the markings on a die. The pips determine the value of a domino, which is called its rank or weight.

The most common domino is the double-six, which produces 28 unique tiles with values from 0 (or blank) to 6. The domino is normally twice as long as it is wide and has a central line down the middle, visually dividing it into two squares. Each square is marked with a number, or rank, from 1 to 6, with the value of a domino based on the number of pips on its adjacent faces.

A player begins by drawing dominoes from a bag or draw pile and positioning them on the table edge-to-edge in such a way that one end of a domino touches the end of another, which creates a chain of dominoes that grows in length as play continues. Each player, in turn, adds to the chain by playing a domino on its corresponding end, either by chance or by using a strategy. The winner is the player whose accumulated value of all their dominoes is least, or who has played the last tile in the chain.

In the realm of fiction, writing a novel is often like putting down dominoes. If a writer pantses, or doesn’t use tools such as Scrivener to make a detailed plot outline ahead of time, it is often difficult to ensure that scenes advance the plot in a logical and natural manner. The domino image is a good one to keep in mind because each scene, like each domino, has the potential to impact the next scene — but only if it is placed at the right angle and with the appropriate amount of force.

As each domino falls, its potential energy transforms into kinetic energy that pushes the next domino in turn until it is overturned as well. Dominoes can be arranged in straight lines, curved paths, grids that form pictures or stacked to create 3D structures such as pyramids and towers. The most impressive creations, however, are the ones that involve hundreds or thousands of dominoes positioned in careful sequence, then toppled with a single nudge. Domino builders often compete in domino shows to create the most complex and imaginative setups.

In the world of data science, best practices from software engineering have begun to be applied to accelerate modern analytical workflows. Unfortunately, these tools are not yet fully mature enough to meet the demands of the field, and teams often struggle with inefficient or brittle solutions. Domino is a platform that was built to fill these gaps and enable the full application of software engineering best practices to accelerate the analytical pipeline. The platform combines code, data and results into a unified runtime that enables teams to enforce access controls for different collaborators, merge changes and detect conflicts, track version history, and serve model outputs as simple self-service web forms for direct human consumption.