Custom Fiction Template

Some odd years back, I created a custom template for use in my fiction. I named it “Mns,” short for Manuscript.
I had created several toolbars and arranged them as I wanted them. (In fact, “arranging them as I wanted them” is one of the reasons I dislike Office 2007 on up; that ribbon interface doesn’t want to let me create and arrange my distinct toolbars.)
Over time, I fine-tuned these toolbars to add new functions I might need, or to eliminate those that I did not use frequently. I am now down to three custom toolbars.

I have since read multiple articles detailing the preferred fonts and layouts for submitting manuscripts to publishers.
So I took these details and added a single custom style to my template… the style “Manuscript,” whose sole purpose is to format my text in a way that is easy for an editor to read after printing. Specifically, double-spaced in a version of Courier.

And then, once again, I found a need to change my template.
I’ve been reading the Style Guide for publishing ebooks through Smashwords, and found a rather large number of suggestions for formatting.
Most such suggestions are to format text (such as centering chapter names or italicizing for emphasis) via applying new styles rather than simply changing the formatting.
So I created a few new styles within that template whose sole purpose is to apply that formatting.
These styles, however, are based on the default Normal style, rather than my custom Manuscript style.

Yes, I’m a computer geek. Can’t you tell? 😉

The Smashwords Style Guide, and other books by Mark Coker, can be found and downloaded for free for any ebook device, directly from Smashwords via the links at the end of this post, or can be found on most online bookstores.
The guides are designed to help even people who are not familiar with Microsoft Word, which makes them needlessly lengthy reads for me, but they’re still good reading for anyone who plans to publish any ebooks of your own. They are required reading for anyone who plans to publish via Smashwords.

Anyway, I’ve uploaded the current template to my DropBox account.
I did this mostly to make it easier for me to access when I’m required to work on a different computer… but I thought I might share it for anyone else to download.
Or if you use deviantArt and would like to help a starving artist ;), or at least an amateur writer still seeking steady employment, you could purchase the template (for a small per-download fee of 50 points, which converts to 50 cents on my end) here: Anyone with a better head for legal language, please read my description there and advise me how best to modify the license agreement. Or just check out my Tip Jars if you don’t use deviantArt.
The template is designed for use with Microsoft Office 2003, although you can use higher if you don’t mind the Ribbon interface changing the toolbar layout, or lower if you don’t mind Office disabling or hiding a few buttons that are not supported. The styles should work with any version.
Download it, try it out, make whatever changes you see fit, and let me know what you think!

(Please note, I do edit the one located in DropBox occasionally. So if you’d like a version that I’m not constantly changing, you’d be better off paying out the 50 points on deviantArt.)

And finally, speaking of DropBox, you can increase your storage space by referring other users. Here’s my referral link, if anyone would like to join and install the app:
I take no money from this, and users lose nothing (except the chance to use anyone else’s referral link), but I do receive a 500 MB increase in available storage for every user who signs up through my link, up to a potential 16 GB.

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