This was my cue to pull back and return to the outline. I figured out a few things about the story while I was doing this. There are three character arcs: Giles, Buffy, and Xander. I didn't realize that Xander's existed until thinking just now. Now I know it exists, and know basically how it comments on the main arc, which is Giles'. This realization gave me some nudges on how Buffy's arc should work. So now it's time to re-outline. I've also realized I have to do my own take on the Cruciamentum, Yet Another GilesFic Staple. Sigh. Has to be done, though. It's too important to that Giles arc.
I also think I got sloppy when I let myself plunge into writing scenes that I hadn't fully thought through first. Or planned at all in the outline. I'm not a maniac about this outline, but the discipline of having one is helping me. I don't think I'd ever be able to commit serial fiction. I'd be too panicked about the structure the whole time. How can I properly set up the ending if I don't know what it is till I get there? Though yeah, I know people can write serially while having an idea where they're going. It's just that they don't often seem to. You can't convince me that Dostoevsky knew where he was going with The idiot from page one. Bah! So this story will be finished, as a whole, and go through two or three drafts as a whole before I'll be happy letting anybody read it.
The other nice thing about having a tight outline is that I can hop around and write whatever is attracting my attention at the moment. Do I want to write about a shootout with magic and bullets flying? I know where that scene is and what it has to do. Do I want to write a quiet, contemplative sense-experience thing? I've got a scene like that (wallpaper paste, plaster dust, and latex paint, the sound of a ladder scraped across the floor in a nearly-empty room).
So rah rah, take heart! Write that outline, Antenna!
I also took a bath and started working on the next chapter of Wheelock's Latin. Got the brain thinking about something totally different. I'm having fun with that project. It's completely pointless and frivolous: I'll probably never learn enough Latin to be able to write plausible magical ritual fragments in it. But, hey, it's fun. らてんご が だいすき です！