As The Talking Heads almost said.
I wrote myself into a horrible corner earlier this year and am not sure yet whether I got out of it or not.
Briefly, I left off work on a Monday in February and instead of picking up on the Tuesday, I went to hospital for abdominal surgery, anaesthetic, pain, pain medicine and recovery.
Two weeks later - I know; I'm a big baby - I opened the file again and . . . I literally had no idea who the two people were who were mid-conversation on the page. One was called Cinty and one was called Gibb and they were both strangers to me.
My first attempt at a solution was to close the file and leave the draft for another week. It didn't help.
Then I thought I'd go back to the start - 60K words - and read what I'd written. Refresh my memory. I'd never done this before and, the truth is I couldn't do it this time either. I tried; I read two chapters but it was like running towards a cliff edge. I kept thinking "I'm reading a story that doesn't exist!" and it freaked me out.
So I decided to fake it. Gibb seemed like a policeman and I reckoned Cinty was one of three sisters who lived in the village near the main setting of the story. So I finished the scene on that assumption and then started a new chapter.
I'm pretty sure most of the stuff I wrote in the last 40K is connected to stuff in the first 60, but I won't know for sure until I read it. Probably in about a month. If I'm lucky, I won't even see the join. If not, this first draft will be a total hippogriff and the edit will start with a shovel.