My style of family history does not fit into any of the standard document types. It’s part biography, part scrapbook and part academic paper. Imagine my surprise to find that none of the standard templates included in Scrivener quite fit my style. No problem! With a bit of effort, I can create a custom template that fits both my document style and my work style. And, the time spent creating it can save me a lot of work in the future. Let’s take a look.
I started with the blank template and began building the sections I will use in my projects. In addition to the manuscript, I have a section for Research where I’ll collect the screenshots, documentation and other information related to my writing projects. I also have a section for Notes. I use this for quick references like formal names, correct spellings, acronyms, URLs and other information I’ll reference often in my manuscript. And, since this template will be used primarily for ebooks, I’m using the Notes section to keep track of the image tags I include in the draft with notes on which image to use and how to present it. It’s also a good place to put my cheat sheet listing all my available tags for quick reference. This is just the way I work – your needs may be quite different and Scrivener gives us all the flexibility to “have it our way”.
I’ve also added several standard pages to this project template and even included text in many of them. Except for project-specific information like title and ISBN, this content won’t change from one project to the next so why should I have to keep retyping or copy/pasting it. And, if it should change, I’ll just update the template.
Once I’ve got my basic layout and content set up the way I want, it’s time to save it. Choose the File > Save as Template command, then complete the information pane shown here and click on the OK button. Notice that template files are saved on the Mac in the ~/Library/Application Support/Scrivener/ProjectTemplates folder. In this example, I’ve chosen to have my template saved in the Non-Fiction category so when I create a new project, I’ll find this template included with Scrivener’s other non-fiction templates.
I know my template will go through many adjustments. It may even spawn several new templates. I’m already considering templates for idea books and how-to books in addition to the family history ones. It’s just a matter of finding which parts of Scrivener make your writing efforts easier, then putting them within easy reach.