It is, I've decided, entirely impossible for me to complete a novel without an outline first. Which is unfortunate, considering how much I LOATHE WRITING OUTLINES.
However, I hate not finishing my stories even more. So I suck it up, and outline. Currently I'm about 5/8 of the way through with my current one, and though I hated every second of it, I do have to admit that the story is about a million times stronger than if I'd just started writing it from the beginning.
Some things I sorted out?
A better ending, without getting to the end and realizing the beginning needed to be completely rewritten to get there.
A more plausible way to get to that ending, rather than "And then this happened. Why? Because I said so."
Change in bad guys to open the possibility of a sequel to the novel. (Which would have required almost a complete rewrite otherwise.)
A change from 1st person perspective to third.
And finally, a more effective way of introducing the fantasy elements of the story without dumping all the information on in a couple paragraphs at a seemingly random time.
So, all in all, the outline is the best way for me, personally, so I have to suck it up and just do it, because in the end I have a stronger story and a better sense of how I want to tell it.
Luckily Storybook makes it feel like less of a chore. There's just something about an outline computer program that makes it feel a little less like homework. Either way, I'm really excited about this one, even though I'm waiting until November to write it. GO NANOWRIMO!