As a result, when I write, I outline, often two to three times. Each outline is different from the others, often emphasizing a new thread or momentum for the story. But what I’ve come to realize above all else is that, no matter how hard I try, I will always diverge from this outline.
This could be a point of utter frustration or like yanking the car off the highway and trekking it through the desert sands without a clue how to survive. Instead, I like to view this as an opportunity. It can be a challenge, but it’s the time to ask, “What new and interesting complication can I throw at the characters now?” Rather than restricting, it allows the creative part of the brain full range. Most of my best plot twists have come from diverging from the outline.
That said, if you yank your storyteller’s car off the outline highway, make sure you have a few pieces of survival gear: conflict, character motivation, and character goals. The nice thing about diverging from the outline is that, because there already is an outline, you can always go back if the detour doesn’t work out.