I love to plot.
There's nothing quite like a good puzzle, and plotting a novel certainly fits into that category. I keep notes on foreshadowing, conversations, events, character quirks, and setting descriptions. I triple check every detail to be sure each is attended to and resolved. I find that I like to write the first couple of chapters, and then I go straight to the end. It helps me not to wander if I know my destination. All I have to do is connect the dots, right?
Maybe... Just like any connect-the-dots puzzle, the more dots there are to connect the sharper the picture. I like to use a loose framework to plan. The details come as I write. Helene Boudreau posted this structure on her blog. It's simple, and it works well for me.
Inciting incident (The big problem)
Plot Point 1 (first obstacle)
Plot Point 2 (second obstacle)
Plot Point 3 (third obstacle-situation is about as bad as it can get)
Climax A (lighting the fuse)
Climax B (watching it burn)
Climax C (kaboom!)
Another good source for understanding how to build specific plots is 20 Master Plots -and how to build them, by Karen S. Wiesner. I refer to this book each time I start a new project - my own little refresher course!
What plotting strategies and resources do you use?