Using Scrivener: Do You Need a Template?

These days, I couldn’t imagine writing a book without Scrivener. Whenever I get an idea for a book the first thing I do is create a Scrivener file.

I’m by no means a Scrivener guru, but I’ve been using it for a long time, so people tend to ask me questions about it. One of the most common questions, particularly from Challenge members, is: “Which template should I use?”

Scrivener installs with many templates for writing projects; both fiction and nonfiction.  I’ve created many templates over the years, so I have lots of templates. I should delete most of these because I usually start with the “blank” template. As I’ve discussed, I’m a fan of organic writing, so a template with ANY information in it distracts me too much.

That said, I do like David Hewson’s free Scrivener template.

Hewson

It’s well thought-out, and would suit any novelist. It’s ideal for you if you’re just starting out with Scrivener. Download it and give it a try, if you feel it will help.

However, you don’t need a template. Just create folders as you need them. It’s easy to delete anything you don’t need.

As I’ve said; I find templates distracting. When I start a book, I just want to make notes, and try out some stuff. A blank template’s enticing, because it offers unlimited possibilities.

That’s just me however. Your temperament might be completely different. Download some templates others have provided in the forums, and try them out.

You can of course create your own. If you’re writing a series, create a document with everything you’ll need for each book, and use Scrivener’s File/ Save As Template command.

On the other hand, some writers keep their complete series within one Scrivener file. It easy to search a file, so you can see exactly what you said about a character three books ago.

Update. Are you writing short stories with Scrivener?

If you’re writing short stories with Scrivener, keep them all in one Scrivener file. I’ve recently started doing this for a series of paranormal stories I’m writing. 

Create a folder for each story, then create template pages for the front and back matter.  When you finish a story, copy the template pages to the top and bottom of the story’s folder, then hit the Compile button. (Scrivener will remember your settings for future stories.)

Keep your cover images in a separate folder (not the primary Draft folder, or whatever you’ve renamed it to be. Then you can choose the appropriate cover image when you Compile each story. You should be able to Compile and publish your stories within a few minutes.

Tip: do some research, and create the meta data (choose categories, tags, write the book description) while you’re writing a draft of the story, then you’re ready to publish when you’re done…

Scrivener is packed with options; it’s up to you how you use it.

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.