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Scrivener 101 | How to Create a New Project in Scrivener (and the many options available to you)

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Welcome to the first post of my Scrivener 101 series! Each post in this series will be short and sweet, because I don’t want to overwhelm you. Scrivener is a huge program with so many options; chances are it’ll do the overwhelming for me if you just dive in. This series is here to help, not to make it worse!

Today’s post is all about how to create a new project in Scrivener and the many options available to you.

Scrivener 101 | How to Create a New Project in Scrivener

Friends, nothing could be easier. The same is true for any writing program, of course, but Scrivener is different in that you don’t just create a new empty document (although you do have the option) or a CV. You create a new screenplay, a new novel, or a new non-fiction book.

It’s enough to make any writer’s heart beat a little faster.

Scrivener 101 | How to Create a New Project in Scrivener | Example: New Project

Depending on what kind of project you choose, your draft will include different options important to that type–but more on that in a bit.

To create your new project, all you need to do is choose the manuscript type you want and give it a name. Don’t worry, this is just so Scrivener can begin to autosave your work; you can change the title at any time.

Let’s take a quick look at the different features you get depending on your project type:


This is the most basic option. You’ve got your draft, space for your research, and a bin, but that’s it.


This is where it gets interesting. When you start a new novel, Scrivener gives you your manuscript including its chapters and scenes, space to develop and research your characters and places, the front matter including manuscript format, paperback and eBook options, space for your research,and template sheets for character and setting sketches.

And that’s just the novel, friends. You can also create a novel with parts or a short story, which give you different options fitting your choice.

Just looking at it is making me want to create a new project!

And if you want even more plotting devices, check out my free downloadable worksheets in my NaNo posts for building your characters, building your world, and building your plot.


While I don’t write non-fiction often, I’ll use Scrivener for my next mailing list freebie (on formatting your novel!).

If you chose a basic non-fiction project with sub-heads, Scrivener gives you your manuscript divided by chapter subtitle, section, and sub-section. Then there are endnotes, your front matter complete with the title page, foreword, and the contents page. There’s space for your notes, ideas, and your research.

And, of course, if you chose to create a research proposal or your undergraduate essay, you get different options based on your project type.

Honestly, I kinda wish I’d had this when I was studying Photography.


Now, if you thought your different novel options were interesting, you’d better sit down for this.

There’s so. much. choice.

I’m guessing that most of you are writing screenplays when you’re not writing novels (based on what my writer friends are doing), so here’s a screenshot of what you’ll get:

Scrivener 101 | How to Create a New Project in Scrivener | Example: Screenplays

Not too shabby, eh? Naturally, the other five (!!!) options in this category have their own layouts depending on what you chose.

There’s a screenshot below so you can see exactly what you can pick from.


I think this category surprised me the most. If you want to write your own recipe book, good news: Scrivener has a category for that.

And then it surprised me even more, when I had a look a the recipe option and saw all this:

Scrivener 101 | How to Create a New Project in Scrivener | Example: Recipe Book

Long story short, there isn’t much you can’t do with Scrivener. If you’re a writer in any field, Scrivener has something to suit your needs.

Scriptwriting has by far the most options (see below), but every manuscript category is bound to have the right choice for you.

Take a look at these examples:

Scrivener 101 | How to Create a New Project in Scrivener | Example: Non-Fiction
Scrivener 101 | How to Create a New Project in Scrivener | Example: Scriptwriting

So, you see, Scrivener really does give you more freedom than other writing programs!

It’s a dream, and I may have fallen in love with it all over again writing this post.

If you’d like to try working with Scrivener, you can buy it for Windows or you can buy it for Apple Macs–whichever you prefer.

Or, if you’d rather, you can do a test run with the free trial. The trial is good for 30 non-consecutive days, meaning you can try it on the 30 days of your choosing.

You might also like:

Scrivener 101 | How to Create a New Project in Scrivener | Further Reading: Is Scrivener Right for You?

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