Why Finishing This #Novel Is Like Playing Sudoku

As I try to wrap up the #writing of this #thriller — somehow maintaining my 1,000 daily #wordcount (yay me!) — I find that I’ve written myself into a corner.

I apparently had not correctly thought through the motivations of several characters and the feasibility of some of the plot, and now find myself with no recourse but to delete (ouch!) parts of several chapters to fix things.

The whole disappointing process reminds me of playing Sudoku — definitely not one of my favorite pastimes. Probably because I stink at it. Most of my Sudoku aficionado friends tell me I should be playing the game with pencil, and, of course, I don’t listen and dive headfirst with pen in hand, resulting 99.9 percent of time in miserable failure. Every time I start a new puzzle — going right for the difficult ones that run in Newsday at the end of the week — I think, This is the day I’m going to finish this thing! This is the day I’m going to conquer this godforsaken game that my 13-year-old does with his eyes closed. And then, there I am, three-quarters of the way through, ready to take my victory lap to fridge and celebrate with a Yodel, maybe two, and I find that I’ve screwed up something — ran two 9s in the same column or whatever — and, totally frustrated, I put a big X through the puzzle and turn the page to drown my sorrows in the comics section.

And now here I am with Baby Grand, in the homestretch, and there’s a glitch: How can this person be here when he was there two minutes ago? Why would this other person do that? BTW, these are thoughts that come to me as I lie in bed and, as I tell my friend Viki, “obsess over people who don’t exist.”

The good news is that I don’t need to put a big X through this and cry (the better news being that I don’t want to). With some thought, the fixes shouldn’t be all that bad, involving, over the next few days, some minor backtracking and revision.

And who knows? This whole process just may inspire me to tread a little more lightly with things, say, (gasp!) swap ink for graphite in my next Sudoku attempt? Not very likely.

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3 thoughts on “Why Finishing This #Novel Is Like Playing Sudoku

  1. Dina — Your line about obsessing “over people who don’t exist” cracked me up. I know exactly what you mean.

    My youngest son (22) loves to tease me about my “imaginary friends.”

    Good luck. I’ve loved following along in your blog. Now I must get to work on my own novel.


    PS: Please send out reminders when “Good Girls” comes out… I will get a copy!!!

  2. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve never completed a game of Sudoku in my life. And I don’t expect I ever will.
    A novel? You and I can both handle that ;-)

  3. My husband loves Sudoku and I can’t stand it! No patience for the game.

    Good luck as you finish your novel. You’ll come up with something clever to get yourself out of that corner, I’m positive.

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