Although I've already started writing my next novel, it's still a very new story and already the characters are throwing me surprises. So, I've paused on the writing and have gone back to my scene breakdown to flesh it out a bit more. In the process, I want to be sure I don't neglect a character or a subplot too long so, being a visual person (and a bit obsessive)I've started color-coding things.
First, I give each scene I'm planning a one-line description. Then, I choose a color to represent each subplot, more colors to represent each character, and still different ones for each reoccuring symbol, relevant detail and backstory feed. Sure -it's a lot of colors. But, when I'm done, at a glance, I can see if something or someone is going to disappear too long or be too heavy-handed and I can balance things early.
So far, this is working smashingly. When I'm done with my first draft, I'll redo my breakdown on a spreadsheet (because by then the story will be way to complex for a rainbow attack) but for the earliest stages, I find it fast, fun way to be able to see the jest of the entire story so I can get back to the real project... The writing!
I would love to hear how you get your plot in order to start your stories!