format like these is hugely helpful for those of us who are organic writers (I spit on the term "pantser") rather than plotters. Organic writers have difficulty separating plot from the whole of their story and therefore have to think about the entire story/organism at once. Formally working on characters, theme, and point-of-view before starting can help generate plot. It's a way of backing into plot.
Admit it, some of you are thinking, Oh, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and you're telling me about this now? Thanks a lot, Gail.
Use these things any time you're starting a book, no matter what time of year!