A Scrivener Template to Help Structure Plot and Story

The Template

What’s inside

Book

  • [Act] — Optional. I tend to write in a 3-act structure, so I keep my chapters in Act folders.
  • [Chapter] — Chapters need to be folders in order to collect multiple scenes, few or many. Skip these too, if you’d like, just make sure your scenes are still separate files.
  • [Scene] — Where you actually write. By keeping your ‘scenes’ as the basic unit of written work, it’s easier to move them around, and to look at holistically later when story gridding.

Library

  • Characters — A repository for all your characters. Use the index file as a master list, and make new character folders for any prominent characters who need more detail.
  • Locations — Repository for your locations; same as characters, the index will be the most comprehensive thing here, but if you need further detail, dive deep with more!
  • World Building — This is to collect world-level decisions about things like geography, physics, name conventions, whatever you may qualify as world building. (Be sure to let the plot build out the world for you when it can!)
  • Research — Even in fantasy books, it’s helpful to know how the real world works. This is for notes on real life research into history, the natural world, trade skills, or whatever you may need to know to write an informed book.
  • Inception Outline — ‘Inception’ is the starting point of your idea. This outline is here to get messy. It comes with 3 Act folders and some Scene cards. Note that the Outliner view of this folder works best if your distinct scene ideas stay as separate index cards.

Vault

  • For Another Book — Scene didn’t work, but you still love it? The idea was too out-of-left-field? Don’t chuck it! Dump it here, and sort it out later.
  • Cut Scenes — No sense in throwing out good words, even if you don’t want to save them for later.
  • Outdated Ideas — My notes constantly become out-of-date as new ideas come along. Drop those older ideas here and either update them later, or let them die like the darlings they are.
  • Writing Craft Reference — Here’s some of the more pertinent notes and instructions on the structural considerations of this template.

Story Grid

Story Embryo

Templates

Character

  • [Character] — The basic character description file. Let this be the only summary you need most of the time. It loosely follows the Snowflake methodology for character analysis, and gives you some basic ways to get to know your character.
  • Story Embryo — You’ll find that handsome wheel here, along with some space for you to define this character’s checkpoints along it.
  • Character Stats — Brainstorming is hard, and it can be helpful to start looking at deeper aspects of your character. This file has tables for basic details (age, hair color, etc), social status (politics, relationships), personality (with fun metrics like MBTI and D&D class), and personal and family history.
  • Marcel Proust Questionnaire — There’s this guy. His name is Marcel Proust. He figured out a pretty clever way to get to know your characters, and these are the questions he devised.
  • Board — Pinterest is a really great tool for figuring out the “feel” of a character’s personality, appearance… mood. So here’s a local folder to act as a mood board, for those times when you don’t want to open yourself up to the distractions of Pinterest.

Location Detail

  • [Location] — Basic description file. Get a short summary in, then go nuts.
  • Board — Same as the Character template, here’s a spot for a location’s mood board.

That’s it.

--

--

--

Writer, Business Analyst at 2U, Co-host of Backseat Drawing, Friend to nerds, probably also a nerd. Purveyor of fine puns.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Everyday

Random talk

Why It’s Okay Not to Write Every Day.

A flaw in the writing

How to Edit an Article From Start to Finish and Make It Unforgettable

One Powerful Reason Your Art Is Priceless

You Are a Writer: Here’s All You Need To Jumpstart Your Creativity Today.

Are You a Hooker?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Josh Whitman

Josh Whitman

Writer, Business Analyst at 2U, Co-host of Backseat Drawing, Friend to nerds, probably also a nerd. Purveyor of fine puns.

More from Medium

How To Build a Newsletter For Your Author Brand

I am Building a Creative Community: It’s Much More Than My Audience

How To Attract Your Ideal Audience and Get Them Excited About Your Book

How Journalists can share stories using Social Media