For me, the way is rarely linear and I rarely get it right the first time. I have some tricks I use along the way and the latest, greatest of these is writing the book out of order--which really blew my mind the first time I heard it, but has changed my whole outlook on the process of constructing a novel. I heard about the concept at the SDSU Writers Conference (BTW, see my scholarship offer for this conference at www.ErinQuinnBooks.com by clicking the button on the left for Scholarship). The workshop was given by Q. Linsday Barrett (I think--there was no introduction at the beginning of the CD I listened to so I'm not sure). The workshop was amazing and she explained in a great way
Ok, back to the book. How's it done?
Well you start with the beginning which most of have an idea of going in. Then you write the next 4 pivotal scenes. (Turning point #1, turning point #2, turning point #3 and the end). Once you've done that, you have set your structure up and the rest of the writing is simply "climbing" to those points. It simplifies it completely.
Oh, important to note, that one of the reasons you write the end is so that you know where your going--but equally important, you're writing it at the beginning of the process so all that excitement and enthusiasm you have for your book will show through!