Once I’ve found the tone of a novel, I like to spend time plotting. I do a complete, often partially illegible (I write it out long-hand) outline of the entire story—major and minor plot points included. As I work, I hit roadblocks that invariably evaporate in the face of a relatively mindless activity like walking or mowing the lawn. Occasionally the roadblocks stay, and those are always created by a character.
I’ve been fumbling around in the dark on Book 2 of my series for the last month.