I realized something interesting this week while working on Shifter 3. When I know what's going to happen, I tend to rush to get through it so I can get to the new, unknown, and thus more interesting stuff. This makes it far more likely for me to summarize and tell instead of show.
It made me wonder why this happens.
I love putting my characters in dire straights. Getting them into as much trouble as possible, and then watching them struggle to get out of it. I paint my characters (and myself) into a corner all the time. This keeps things exciting for me, and hopefully, for the reader. Never knowing how it'll turn out helps keep things unpredictable.
But when I know exactly how a scene is going to unfold, it becomes predictable and thus boring to me. I want it over. It's work, not fun, and I force myself to chug through the scene.
This is when I realized that the scenes that made me feel this way were probably scenes that would be predictable to the reader. Without my personal uncertainty coloring the text, there wasn't any "wonder" in it, if that makes sense. It was just description of an event that happened, not a story unfolding. Even if it was essentially a well-written scene. It just had no heart. No "why should I care?" factor.
So I went back and looked at that scene again, thinking about all the things that could go wrong or could happen that wasn't so predictable. I thought of interesting situations I didn't know the answer to. And suddenly the scene was way cooler and I was excited to write it. That finished scene took the story to a place I wasn't expecting.
I think this is what people refer to when they bash outlining. The "stagnant" feeling that comes from knowing every detail about your story. I also think it can happen whether you outline or not, and it's more about what you personally feel during the scene than how you create it. You can know every detail, but be excited about seeing it hit the page same as you can be excited about not knowing how it will hit the page.
The next time you find yourself bored in a scene, or rushing to get to the end of it so you can "move on" to something more fun, take a step back and think about why you're bored. Maybe this is your writer's instinct telling you there's more you can do to make that scene really sing.