Full disclosure. I'm usually just winging it most of the time, but I thought I might share some of the writing templates I've found, created and adapted during my writing journey. As a long-time 'pantser', learning to plot has been more fun than I originally anticipated. Hopefully you will find some of these resources useful as well!
SCENE SUMMARY TEMPLATE
What is it?
A table listing significant elements in a scene, chapter or story. This is an expanded version adapted from Abbie Eamon's scene card. All of Abbie's tips and resources are fantastic.
How do I use it?
I use this table as a kind of virtual Post-It note or annotation to remind me what a scene is about and where it's situated within the story. It can be adapted to use as a chapter summary template, too. Based on my experience, I tend to neglect sensory experience when describing a scene, instead focusing on emotions and behaviour. The former definitely influences the latter, and the template reminds me to refer back to things like the weather and various sights, scents and sounds that add richness to a scene.
My writing process typically begins with random bits of images, scenes, dialogue and themes that pop into my head. Sometimes it's a chunk of back and forth dialogue, or paragraphs. Sometimes it's an image or mood board. Most often, it's a series of bullet points under headings. If it has a place and purpose within the story, then I paste this scene summary table at the top of the document and fill it out as the scene coalesces into something substantia. The goal is to get each scene into good enough shape to insert into a first draft.
At the end of the scene writing process, I end up with a bunch of scenes that I then sort into the right order. I really like this modular process of story construction. Also, having a one-page summary of each scene allows for easier printing, if you prefer a more hands-on, 'analogue' approach to sorting your scenes without printing out masses of text.
Download Sonia's Scene Summary Template
whoozit? CHARACTER cards
What is it?
A table listing the key characteristics, roles, affiliations and other important attributes of each character in a story.
How do I use it?
I use Scrivener to write and for each significant character, I fill out one of these cards and maintain a document in the manuscript folder. For background characters who don't require that much detail, I usually list them in a separate table according to their role or affiliation in the story. For significant characters, I think it's handy to include additional details about how the character's personality manifests in different situations, as this serves as a reminder to use the character's distinct 'lens' or filter, when writing them. When I don't remember to do this, a lot of my side characters end up perceiving the world very much like my main characters. This detail is included in the Whoozit? card.
Download Sonia's Whoozit? Character Card