Templates For Writers

I found something interesting as I prepare for National Novel Writing Month. Something that I think will help me in my work, writing all sorts of non-fiction things.  It may help me in my research work, as well.

I am collecting templates for thrillers.  Formulas, outlines, what have you.

Someone suggested these were wacky -- maybe not to be trusted or used.  Thrillers aren't romance novels!  Thrillers are complex; they don't follow a set pattern!

Well, sorry.  I like them.  They help as I draft my outline.  (Yes, I'm working with an outline this year for NaNoWriMo.  No seat-of-the-pants approach this year. Nope.)

Here's the thing:  I'm pondering how formulas and templates apply to writing in all sorts of ways.  From blog posts to speeches. From white papers to in-depth articles and internal company memoranda.

They're everywhere.  This is a good thing.

Formulas and Patterns in Writing: Legal Briefs

I realize writing templates or formulas are not new to me. Lawyers recognize them. They are very much respected in the World of Law.

For instance, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit shares 295 pages of sample briefs online as well as its three page checklist.

The court's checklist includes:
1) CONTENTS OF BRIEFS (5TH CIR. R. 28.3 reproduced below gives the required contents of a brief.)a) Certificate of interested persons required by 5TH CIR. R. 28.2.1;b) Statement regarding oral argument required by 5TH CIR. R. 28.2.3 (see also FED. R. APP. P. 34(a)(1);c) A table of contents, with page references (see FED. R. APP. P. 28 (a)(2));d) A table of authorities (see FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(3));e) A jurisdictional statement as required by FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(4)(A) through (D);f) A statement of issues presented for review (see FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(5));g) A statement of the case (see FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(6));h) A summary of the argument (see FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(7));i) The argument, including the applicable standards of review (see FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(8));j) A short conclusion stating the precise relief sought (see FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(9);k) A signature of counsel or a party as required by FED. R. APP. P. 32(d);l) A certificate of service in the form required by FED. R. APP. P. 25;m) A certificate of compliance if required by FED. R. APP. P. 32(a)(7) and 5TH CIR. R. 32.3.
The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure are filed with all sorts of requirements.  The Clerk for the Fifth Circuit explains what is needed to meet FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(8), the "argument" section of the brief:

This must contain the party’s contentions with respect to the issues presented, and the reasons therefor, and must include citations to relevant authorities, statutes, and page numbers in the record on appeal. Although FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(8)(B) allows discretion on where to place the standard of review in your brief, this court greatly prefers that your standard of review be “clearly identified in a separate heading before discussion of the issues.” If the issue is failure to admit or exclude evidence, refusal to give a particular jury instruction, or any other ruling for which a party must record an objection to preserve the right of appeal, your brief should identify where in the record on appeal counsel made proper objection and where it was ruled upon. (NOTE: an appellee does not need to state the standard of review unless he or she disagrees with the appellant’s standard);
I have no idea how many briefs, motions, memoranda, etc. I have written as a lawyer.  Hundreds? Thousands?  Dunno.  It's what I did.  Research, write, repeat.  

You?  Where have you found formulas or templates for writing?  

Templates for Thrillers

I've think the following thriller templates are interesting.  Helpful.  Maybe you will, too:

.... And this one is just fun -- The Crime Thriller Plot Generator.  

P.S. NaNoWriMo:  

Need some outlining encouragement?   Go read this Wall Street Journal interview of Jeffrey Deaver, who starts out by explaining that he uses a detailed outline for his thrillers.  Takes him months to build them.  Not that I've got months.  It's NaNoWriMo.  I've got days.  Yikes!