fiction writers database
I am brand-new to FM, but I have been going through the training modules and reading here so I'm not completely clueless. Before I go any farther with FM, though, I want to make sure I'm not setting out to reinvent the wheel.
I'm an established novelist. Primarily I write big complex historical novels (six in print, one forthcoming), and I've always struggled with keeping all the different kinds of information -- historical research as well as details about fictional characters and institutions -- organized. I finally invested in FM because really, it seems like the only way to do what I need to do. I've searched around for templates that might do this already, but the only one I've found so far is for Bento, and those templates can't be imported, in as far as I can tell.
I can hunker down and figure out how to adapt existing templates if none exist that will fill my needs, but if I can avoid that, I'd be very happy. I'll also look into hiring somebody to set the templates up for me, if necessary.
A summary of what I need: each character needs a card that looks something like a client card, but is expanded to include family members, background information of all kinds, physical description, primary connections, images and relevant maps. I need to have another kind of card/database for families and one for institutions (schools, businesses, hospitals, etc), so that I can (for example) call up the Foundling Hospital card, see its location on a historical map and an image of the campus as it existed, and a list of all characters who are associated with that hospital in some way.
These are historical novels (the one I'm working on now set in 1883 in Manhattan) so I don't need any real-life contact type information. I've looked at the Data4Life templates (which aren't available for 12, in as far as I can tell) which are closer to what I need than the business templates -- but still not very close at all. So my complicated question: where should I be looking for such templates, if they exist at all (either free or commercial)? And if they don't, if someone can recommend any existing templates that would lend themselves to adaptation for my purposes? Finally, it would be helpful to have at least a ball park figure of what it might cost me to have somebody design this set of interconnected templates for me.
Thanks for any direction or suggestions or instructions you might be able to provide.