Yup, it doesn't stop with 3x5 cards. Once those are filled out, shuffled, crossed-through and flipped over to reuse, shuffled and rearranged, a few thrown in the fire and fresh cards begrudgingly trotted out to take their place, I have the bones of my plot. No trying-to-piece-together-a-complete-cromagnon-from-a-scrap-of jawbone for me-- I've got a reasonably complete skellington here to work with!
Now to my lovely notebook. And it is lovely: the wee red beasty has nice creamy paper, hard covers, a pocket in back, an elastic band to hold it shut and one of those sweet ribbons to mark my place. I freely confess to a certain sartorial streak in matters of my stationery. :)
Right, the notebook. Sitting down with trusty, lovely, 50-odd year old fountain pen (that sartorial streak again), I flesh out each note card. Usually 50-100 words, just enough to describe what'll be happening, key points to hit when I finally sit down to write my draft.
At this point I found problems that didn't show up in the note cards: night scenes in the middle of the day, suspects cleared then re-interviewed, a few plot holes. So back to work, shuffling, scribbling, shuffling. The plot hole gets filled but now I'm *awful* long between my Big Midpoint and my Act II Climax. I've become flabby about the middle. Shuffle, scribble, tear up a couple more cards. Scribble scribble, shuffle, scribble.
If this sounds like a lot of work, please remember this is usually a stage I go through AFTER I've written the damn novel. In fact, I'm sometimes finding these problems after several drafts. Compared to that, this is a piece of cake.
One odd bonus I hadn't predicted: I'm writing faster. On the one hand, I'm able to angle language, imagery, etc. to foreshadow what's to come. On the other, these poor characters have been jumping up and down in that diary, scene after scene, mute and waving for my attention. Now that I'm finally letting them talk and act and do stuff, they're going hard. At the end of Day 3, the New and Improved Daily Wordcountometer (shown on the right) stands at 5,400 words. Now if you'll excuse me, I gots me some writing to do...