When I do an outline, it’s tempting to treat it like it’s been carved in stone. The story *must* follow the outline because the outline is what keeps me on track.
Unfortunately, things rarely work out the way they are planned. A character does something unexpected; a scene closes too soon; a major plot conflict fizzles out in the second paragraph. The story isn’t really the enemy, but it is a puzzle, and sometimes the pieces aren’t the ones you planned for.
A better way to think of an outline is as an organic process. It must change as the story changes. New events, or failures of old events, have to be worked into the outline, so that the long term consequences can be brought in and woven into the plot.
Each day, I review and revise my outline, not only to see where the story goes next, but to add the changes I’ve made and see how those affect the rest of it.
Today I had to cut two scenes because they were actually just filler, and I hadn’t realized it until now. I removed them from my outline*. Now the section is too short to be a whole chapter. I’m not going to let that bother me, lol. Having spaces early on can be useful; I might have to go back and add exposition/characters/plot points so that future events make sense.
Whatever I do, I will have to consider adding more scenes later on to reach 50,000 words (it’s nano, after all).
*more like I put a strike through them. Because you never know…