Possibly the best way to plot a novel is to deface your wall with sticky notes, each note representing a scene or chapter. At a glance you can see the whole of your plot, not to mention any alternatives you have running off in tangential lines. It’s easy to move a scene or a whole contingent of ‘em, and then move them all back to where they started. The whole affair makes you feel a little bit like a general positioning miniature tanks on a map with a stick.
I’ve been marshaling the notes on my wall for a month and a half now; the process is beginning to near a point very close to a position shortly removed from a penumbra of an emanation of what some scholars believe may in fact be the midway mark, though others disagree about the interpretation and relevance of some of the source documents.
All in all, I move at a glacial pace. With a full day to operate, I can think up a sheet of ideas and doodles of snakes which are then reduced with an erratic Sharpie to about one usable scene concept. Overflowing with pride in my creativity and ingenuity, I stick up the note only to realize I affixed there more-or-less the same thing three hours ago.
Alas, it’s not all thought bubbles and sticky notes. I have to actually write out the long way on non-sticky paper the important bits of a scene to make sure the thing will actually work when expanded into prose. Typically it doesn’t at first, but I keep beating it until I have a scene idea in a few sentences worthy of being added to my epitaph and chiseled into my gravestone and finally glued to the office wall. Then, in three weeks time, when I’m working on what comes ten scenes later I realize it wasn’t epitaph-worthy after all, but it’s no biggie because the crumpled ball arcing toward the trash is only an idea, not two and a half thousand words perfected by four days of blood, sweat and tears.