Every author has their own way of working.
Some outline; some don't.
Some prefer note or index cards. I like to make a grid on a sheet with 5 boxes across and 4 down, where I can see major points per chapter at a glance.
LJ Sellers, author of the Detective Jackson mystery series, THE SEX CLUB (Spellbinder Press) and the upcoming SECRETS TO DIE FOR, says she likes to create a timeline to keep her work in progress in order
Writing Tip 10: Make a Timeline
Sellers says, "for every mystery/suspense story, I create a timeline of significant events, including day and hour.
"I draft it when I write the outline, then update it and fill it in as I write the novel.
* helps me pace the story;
* helps me coordinate simultaneous events;
* keeps me from writing too many events into one day;
* saves me the embarrassment of having characters refer to events that
haven't happened yet."
--- THE SEX CLUB by LJ Sellers: When a bomb explodes at a birth control clinic and a young client turns up dead, Detective Jackson is assigned both cases. Could they be connected?
Kera, the nurse who discovers the girl’s Bible group is really a sexual free-for-all, thinks they are. But can Jackson uncover the killer’s identity in time to stop the slaughter?