Enter the Book Map.
We had a file that was every scene, in order, described by POV character and highlighted in yellow if it was FULL OF PERIL. Every time we changed something in the novel, we had to change the Book Map. That thing was our BIBLE. I still have a copy of it on my hard drive somewhere. (Hell, Jimmy Hoffa is probably buried on my hard drive somewhere...)
AnyHOO. As I revise the PhD novel (ahem, Threading the Labyrinth is the title), I keep getting a bit stuck because I've not worked on it in so long. It's been cooking, yanno? I've forgotten things. And parts of it just feel so meh. MEH!
So tonight I sat with the 1941 section and hand wrote an outline of everything that happens in this section. And LO & BEHOLD but if it didn't work. I can totally see now where I have dropped tiny threads or missed out on clear character motivations.
I will be doing this for the other four sections of the novel. It will save time and, more important, my sanity.
ALL HAIL THE BOOK MAP!
And here are some peonies the size of my face. Just because.