And it's the same with writing short stories. My latest one was veering towards a dead-end. I could see it coming and wanted to turn it round and head in the right direction again. But I didn't know how. I stopped, stared at the brick wall, then stared into space, then paced the room. Nothing came. I couldn't manoeuvre at all without the dead-end sign looming up at me again and again. I racked my brains for solutions. Curled up and went to sleep at the foot of the sign, tossing and turning, my brain still in overdrive.
And then it came. Bring in a new character. Ask for directions, opinions, a sweet smile of sympathy to spur me on. Let him show me the way out. Transfer my dilemma into his capable hands. It works every time.
Now I have this lovely young farmer in a tractor, who has driven into the first paragraph and breathed new life, and a strong waft of cow-pats, into my beleaguered story. He adds weight to both the other main characters in the way that a minor character does so efficiently. He has improved the plot and strengthened the structure. And the twist that seemed rather convoluted is now workable.
So I'm on the highway now and picking up speed again. Let's hope the dead-end stays behind me. It's amazing what a fresh face can do to help you on your way. It's like a fictional hitch-hiker adding a new dimension to your journey.
And, off on another tangent again, it also somehow reminds me of backing singers. I'm sure Frankie Valli would have flopped without his Four Seasons. And Smokey Robinson would have smouldered into ash without his Miracles.