Even if you aren't the plotting and outlining type, the more you know about your characters and the world they inhabit, the better your writing will be. The following templates will help you brainstorm and remember the little details that make a story come to life, or just give you a bare-bones overview for easy reference.
Snowflake method checklist. Maybe you'd rather work from the top down than from the ground up. Inspired by fractal geometry (really!), Randy Ingermanson's "snowflake method" grows an entire novel from a single sentence. Each step of the process methodically expands upon the one before, filling in detail until you have a complete draft.