Every writer has their own way of working their way through a novel. Some draw up detailed plans, scene by scene, including plot points and beats. Some even create collages that include pictures of their characters, locations, etc., to spark their gray cells. Others, like me, "Fog Walk". Some call us "pantsers". I prefer fog walker.
I have writer buddies who shudder when I mention the notion of fog walking. "How can you do that?" they ask. I have no idea. It just works. I usually start with an idea for an opening scene and, if I'm lucky, the closing scene. The middle is a complete mystery at this point. Then I start working on the book. Sometimes I write lineally and sometimes I do the patchwork technique, penning the scene most plaguing me at the moment. Then I have to go back and knit that all those pieces together. It's ugly, but it works for me.
I do use organizational adjuncts. I'm great with Excel spread sheets (after the first draft) that keep track of who is doing what, who knows what, and more precisely, when they're doing it. Since my stories are fitted within a specific historical time frame, I do need to pay attention to date, etc.
I recently added a 4' x 8' chalkboard to my toolkit. I use it to write out story ideas, work through complex scenes, list out questions that need to be addressed by the end of the book. There's something liberating about playing on a chalkboard. Maybe I'm a closet school teacher.
Fog walking is totally white knuckle when you're on deadline. Often it requires a lot of rewrites. For some reason, that's where I live. Might not be there in five years, but right now that white knuckle ride seems to be my thing.
So how do you plot? Or do you? Do you find the method varies depending on the book? What techniques do you use to track your story as you weave in the clues, the red herrings, and the bad guy(s)?