When I work on pages, I make a point of adhering to the story as it’s written in the outline. There may be some slight alterations here and there, but that’s not an uncommon thing.
At the moment I’m in the middle of a sequence, that, according to the outline, was all planned out. No problems.
Little did I realize that over the course of the pages before this, all of those slight alterations would drastically change the circumstances surrounding my protagonist’s situation in that sequence.
Without knowing it, I had made things much harder not only for him, which is how it should be, but also for myself, which isn’t exactly the greatest of news. Most of the details now had to be thrown away.
And because I’m such a glutton for punishment, this sequence was slowly becoming way too similar to one from about 20 pages before it. How I didn’t see this while outlining I’ll never know.
So it’s not necessarily back to square one, but I’ve got some work to do. Looking at this from the silver lining perspective, this is actually some pretty good stuff:
-My protagonist now faces bigger challenges, which still advance the story, theme and character development.
-I’m forced to come up with better, more creative ways of depicting how things play out.
-Recognizing and handling the domino effect those earlier changes have made and will make on the rest of the story.
Fortunately, we writers are a hearty lot and not easily deterred. Time, experience and constant rewrites provide us with the determination and intestinal fortitude to work our way through this sort of thing.