Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dominoes, Triggers, and Plot

Photo: flickr.com/photos, Reece Kidman

"To avoid bad writing, think of the events in your novel as dominoes. Let's call them dramatic dominoes. The first event in the novel--and for that you can read 'the first scene'--must trigger an event that follows...The key here is to remember that scene one is the first domino. It knocks the next one over and so forth." --Elizabeth George, Write Away

Reworking some of my scenes this week with dominoes in mind. What table game inspires your writing? (Please don't say Sorry!)


  1. I can't say table games have inspired my writing, but I love the idea of dominoes as a metaphor for plot flow. It's perfect! So I guess your post is the inspiration! :)

  2. Dominoes are perfect. I don't think I can come up with a better one...except maybe Risk...

  3. I really like this analogy--it makes me seriously think about (and spot some holes in) my plot progression~ thanks! And I'd say chess to sound smart, but I don't play chess. Must learn how to play chess one of these days...

  4. I don't write mysteries, but every story should have mystery or unexpectedness to it, for tension. My hands down favorite board game as a kid was Clue. In our manuscripts, we need to know everyone's motivations and how their actions drive the plot forward, and so in this way, maybe CLUE precedes DOMINOES. Character actions certainly cause the dominoes to fall.

  5. Thanks for your comments, friends. I love the suggestions. Risk? Yes, there's that in the writing process. Chess? If only we could more easily see the moves our plot must take :-) And Clue? Great choice, Cathy. We drop clues here and there, but never want to give everything away until the end of the story, that's for sure.

    Enjoyed the dialogue on this one!