Help! Scrivener Newbie Needs Some Answers

Greetings from San Miguel de Allende, MX~

I’ve come to Mexico to write, and only write - not to spend endless hours trying to figure out what must be a simple answer. New to Scrivener, I have just spent three days going through the tutorials.

I ran into a problem almost immediately upon starting a new project.

Question: When beginning a new project and I am asked to select a template, which one do I choose for a memoir? I came to the forum yesterday and read everything related to templates for memoir and the posts were too technical for me.

Since I wasn’t writing a script, or a novel, or a term paper, I chose the blank template. I then changed a few of my files from .docx to .txt. I imported them into my blank template and found it easy to change them back to double spaced, courier new, and 12 font. But now I see that I need to also change everything else - paragraph indents, margins, etc. The blank template has no formatting - none! Is this right? Or does the formatting suddenly appear when you are compiling and printing. That would be odd, wouldn’t it? Will another template appear the same on my screen or will it give me some margins?
The reason I bought Scrivener was to be able to work on my word docs along with using the awesome corkboard.

HELP…there must be a better way.
So here are the questions:

  1. Which template do I use for memoir?
  2. Can I use the novel template for memoir? Or will some big hand pop up and yell at me, “You are using the wrong template?”
  3. Do all .doc documents need to be copy and pasted into a notepad format before importing into Scrivener (as recommended in the tutorial)?
  4. Should I just select the Novel template or non-fiction template? And do I really need to import my files as .txt like the tutorials suggest?
    I am longing to get back to the task of writing. The clock is ticking. I only have three more months here before I need to go back to the distractions and commitments of Minnesota.

I’d really appreciate your suggestions.


Templates are only really a basic Scrivener project set up with certain defaults aimed at certain types of writing. For example, the novel template is set up to produce a document meeting most publishers’ guidelines for submitted manuscripts. But you can do everything in the basic template that you can do with any of the ‘specialist’ ones.

One approach you could take, given the time limits, is to ignore any thought of formatting and templates at this stage. Write your document so that the structure and the words are perfect, in any font you like, with any line spacing . You could write it in Comic Sans 26 font and it won’t make any difference, because fonts and spacing can be changed for the whole document in thirty seconds right at the end or during compilation.

So for the time being, just write! Get the words and the structure right, and worry about the compilation at the end: by then you’ll be more familiar with the program and you’ll be able to get plenty of advice here when the time comes.

I’m not sure about the copy via notepad idea, but I’ve never had a problem importing a word document personally – on the other hand, I use the Mac Version so it may simply be a Windows problem.

Good luck!

Dear Brookter,
Your response has given me the gift of time! Your wise advice regarding write now, worry later has been taken to heart. Thank you! Thank you!

Glad it helped… Good luck with the memoir!