It's been a long time since I posted an update on "The Between", my YA urban fantasy. It's the story of Lydia, a young Fey girl raised as a human changeling who upsets the balance in Fairy and is forced to fight to define her humanity. My first glimmer of an idea for this story was putting together the world of the Fey with a kind of witness protection program. While the plot has changed a bit since then, it is still about the clash of cultures when a Fey raised by Mortals is taken back to Fairy.
I've recently returned to this story after a several month absence, due to several things--showing the story too early to a critique group, needing to finish an editing frenzy on other projects, and the stunned disbelief and ensuing celebration after landing an agent. But now, I'm back to work.
The story feels fresh to me again and I'm about 1/3 of the way, plot-wise, through the first draft. I have a clear idea of what needs to happen in the middle 1/3 and in the final 1/3. I know the difficult and painful decision Lydia makes that propels the end game of the story. And I know how it ends.
I don't have a detailed outline for the story, but I do have a sense of the story arc and several important way points. That's exactly the amount of outline that works for me. It balances my need for structure with my need to let my characters surprise me.
I had a far more detailed outline for my first and second books, much less of one for novels 3 and 4. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, what matters is that you find a method that gets words on the page.