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Last updated on Dec 09, 2022

Book Writing Templates: A Writer’s Secret Weapon [Download]

No matter what level of experience you have as an author, you can always use a little help to get your manuscript off the ground. Book writing templates are tools that authors can leverage to fuel their progress: from brainstorming characters, to worldbuilding, to structuring a story, templates can help you make sure you start off on the right foot. 

The goal of using a template is not to make cookie-cutter novels, but rather to better shape your book idea into a unique story. If you’re keen to receive a little help, here are 10 different types of book writing templates you can use to sketch out your stories.

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The Top 10 Book Writing Templates

Use these to develop your characters, outline your plot, and write your book.

Developing an idea

The most fundamental type of book template concerns concept development. Think of book ideas as seeds: not all of them have the potential to become a great big oak — but some do. 

1. Book Development Template

To help you determine if your idea is 'fertile' enough, we've made a book development template designed to test the waters.

A book development template example

Our seven-part book development template will guide you step-by-step in nailing down your protagonist, supporting characters, antagonists, as well as your worldbuilding and plot structure. If that wasn’t enough, it will also help you pick your voice and point of view.

In other words, it will help you germinate that idea into a sapling that will eventually become your first draft. To download this specific template, insert your email below — or sign up above to receive all templates.

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Get our Book Development Template

Use this template to go from a vague idea to a solid plan for a first draft.

Structuring your narrative

Once you have a great story idea, you need to actually put it down on paper (or in a book editor, but paper sounds better, doesn’t it?). Many authors write when  inspiration strikes, following their intuition for chapters on end without a plan. While this approach might be powerful to get things going, it can be useful to think about how to structure your novel early on in the writing process to avoid running into plot holes and writing yourself into a corner.  

Luckily, in literature there are a few common story structures every author can refer to when plotting, starting with the most popular of them all 一 the Three-Act structure. 

2. Three-Act Structure Template

Originally defined by Aristotle two thousands years ago, the Three-Act structure divides a story in a beginning, middle, and end. This method is one of the most commonly used when plotting novels, as it provides a basic skeleton for your story that ensures all your plot points are in place, building tension and stakes until the climax and resolution.

To download this specific template, insert your email below — or sign up above to receive all templates.

Free Download: Three-Act Structure Template

Effortlessly plot your story with our customizable template. Enter your email, and we'll send it to you right away.

By dissecting the story in three parts of equal importance, you’ll be able to create a strong narrative that keeps readers hooked from start to finish. You can print out the template or edit it online 一 for each section you’ll be asked to write a synopsis of what happens in the story, and a specific example of it. 

3. Hero’s Journey Template

Another, more hands-on take on the Three-Act structure is the Hero’s Journey, which focuses on the transformation of a single protagonist. Divided in twelve distinct phases, it helps you deconstruct your protagonist's journey, from the initial call to adventure to the return home as a changed person.   

A hero's journey template example

Our template will help you write down a short synopsis about important story elements, such as: 

  • The ordinary world where it all starts;
  • The call to adventure and refusal of it;
  • Mentors, enemies, and allies on the hero’s journey;
  • The moments of greatest fear and reward;
  • The lesson to bring home, and more.

These timeless elements have been used in countless stories, from Biblical tales to Star Wars, and will give you creative freedom while ensuring your narrative stays on track. To download this specific template, insert your email below — or sign up above to receive all templates.

Free Download: Hero's Journey Template

Effortlessly plot your story with our customizable template. Enter your email, and we'll send it to you right away.

4. Save the Cat Beat Sheet

If you have trouble figuring out your list of scenes, you can get more granular with the Save the Cat template, which tells you exactly what should happen on what page. Originally developed for screenwriters, it has been widely adopted by novelists to plan their stories with theme, character development, and pacing in mind.

A Save the Cat Beat Sheet template example

The Save the Cat template builds upon the classic Three-Act structure, but further dividing a story into 15 beats that tell you when the inciting accident, subplots, and other key elements should happen. In our template, you can simply enter your target word count and it'll tell you exactly when and for how long each beat should last, so that your story doesn't lag in places where it should be motoring along.

To download this specific template, insert your email below — or sign up above to receive all templates.

Free Download: The Beat Sheet template

You’ll get it in your email inbox right afterward.

Outlining your story

Once you have defined your larger story structure and developed your idea, you can use a book template to go in scene by scene and keep track of the main plot and subplots, and how they fit into your book’s overall timeline.

5. Book Outline Template

Save it in your Google Sheets, edit it, move scenes around, and tweak it until you’re satisfied with the narrative flow.   

A book outlining template example

Depending on your preference, our book outline templates includes three exercises that can help you create:

  • A basic story outline that includes all of the main variables;
  • A plot-driven outline that tracks your main plots and subplots by chapter; and
  • A simple scene list that defines each scene's purpose in the story arc.

To download this specific template, insert your email below — or sign up above to receive all templates.

Free Download: Book Outline template

You'll get it in your email inbox right afterward.

Building the world of your book

Apart from large-picture templates, some templates can help with specific aspects of your stories, like creating a fictional world from scratch 一 from your world’s history, to geography, to technology and more. 

A worldbuilding template example

6. Worldbuilding Template

If you’re a fantasy or sci-fi writer, or you simply want to go deep with your worldbuilding, use our 7-part template to establish aspects such as: 

  • Name and location;
  • Geography;
  • People and language;
  • Social systems (religion, history, etc.);
  • Technology and magic; and
  • Economy and politics.

If you struggle to piece together all of your world’s features, this template is for you 一 print it out and spend some time with it. This will help you map the environment to the point where it feels like a real place, and you can better communicate it to your readers. To download this specific template, insert your email below — or sign up above to receive all templates.

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The Ultimate Worldbuilding Template

130 questions to help create a world readers want to visit again and again.

Creating compelling characters

Since characters are the heart of any story, it’s important to sculpt them to the smallest detail. To help you create remarkable characters, we made two separate templates: one to thoroughly define who they are, and one to test their boundaries in hypothetical scenarios. 

7. Character Profile Template

Similarly to building a world from scratch, developing an identity is not an easy task. After all, think about yourself: how long did it take you to become the person you are today? As many years as you’re old. So, how do you replicate that same process not just for one, but multiple protagonists 一 so that they feel like someone you could bump into in real life? Well, you can start by creating a detailed profile. 

A character profile template example

For each major character in your novel, you can print and fill out our character profile template. It will guide you step-by-step in detailing your character’s features, such as: 

  • Basic information (i.e. age, occupation);
  • Physical appearance;
  • Personal relationships;
  • Family history;
  • Major life events;
  • Psychological traits; and 
  • Their hopes and dreams. 

The template may start with superficial traits such as appearances, but then it urges you to also look beneath the skin. So, take the time to ponder over each of the sections to give yourself the chance to create truly compelling characters that readers will resonate with. 

To download this specific template, insert your email below — or sign up above to receive all templates.

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Reedsy’s Character Profile Template

A story is only as strong as its characters. Fill this out to develop yours.

8. Character Questionnaire 

Once you have your multi-dimensional character, a fun exercise is to test how they would respond in different situations. For example, what would they do if a person they don’t want to see walks into the bar they’re at? Or what if they won the lottery? You will be surprised at how much you can learn about your character this way, and even if these situations may not feature in your book, your deep understanding of your character will translate into your writing. A character questionnaire template example

To download this specific template, insert your email below — or sign up above to receive all templates.

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Reedsy’s Character Questionnaire

40 questions to help you develop memorable characters.

Formatting your manuscript to professional standards

Not all book templates concern the writing aspect of authorship. Some are just useful to format your manuscript in a way that adheres to industry standards before you send out your query letters

9. Manuscript Format Template

While content matters more than how it’s presented, literary agents and publishers still expect you to present a professionally formatted manuscript. To help you not stand out for the wrong reason, you can use Reedsy’s manuscript format template. 

A manuscript formatting template example

You just need to download a copy and edit it, either by writing directly in it, or copy-pasting (without formatting) the content of your novel.  Again, if you want to download this specific template, insert your email below — or sign up above to receive all templates. 

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Manuscript Format Template

Get your manuscript ready for submission to agents and publishers.

10. Children's Book Manuscript Template

If you’re writing a children’s book, there are slightly different formatting rules you need to be aware of 一 for example if you’re writing in verse or adding illustration notes. Whether you’re submitting to traditional publishers or self-publishing your children’s book, you can use our template to get professional results. Again, you’ll just need to download a copy and edit it without changing the formatting. 

Free Download: Children's Book Manuscript Template

Enter your email address and get your copy right away.


We hope that these templates will help you quickly test your story idea, and develop it into a solid draft. They'll hopefully serve as the framework for your wild imagination. It’s time to get writing.

– Originally published on Dec 09, 2022