Aaaarrgh! (in which I inexplicably lose ~4000 words)

I had a fairly productive writing day yesterday and added about 4000 words to my novel. The first section was copied from a full-screen text editor I also use and pasted over an existing chapter in Scrivener (the text I brought over from the full screen editor included the first part of that chapter plus edits and the stuff I’d added). I wrote the second part directly into Scrivener in a second chapter. Then I backed up the entire project through the File > Backup menu. Then I closed Scrivener for the night.

When I reopened Scrivener this morning, I saw that the icon for the second chapter had changed on its own – it had been the upright scribbly rectangle that indicates a document with text in it, but was now the miniature file-card icon that indicated a chapter with notes but no text:


The first chapter still had the scribbly text icon, but when I clicked it, it briefly showed me some of the chapter I’d edited the day before then went blank; the icon for that chapter turned into the file-card icon indicating a chapter with notes but not text.

I remembered my backup and used Scrivener’s File > Open menu to open it in a second window. But alas, it behaved exactly the same way, first showing that there was text in the first chapter, then blanking it out and showing it as an empty document. I went into the project folder and looked for the missing chapters in the Docs subfolder there, but they were completely absent from both backup and current project. All of the work I did yesterday (plus some of the work from the day before) is gone from both backup and current project file.

Scrivener saves this project to my Dropbox, but the backup I made was strictly local (on my desktop) so I don’t believe this is an issue with syncing gone wrong. The only out-of-the-ordinary thing I can think of was that I copy-pasted some text in non-Roman characters into the document. Scrivener seemed to handle them fine at the time, but possibly this caused it to choke when re-opening? The non-Roman text was pasted into the second affected chapter, though, not the first, so I’m not sure that this was the issue.

I know Scrivener for Linux is unsupported and extremely beta, and I should probably have been making non-scrivener backups of each section. But I thought I’d post this here as a warning to other users and as info for developers, if they want it. (I also, I admit, hope that one of you might have a suggestion for how to miraculously restore the missing text. :frowning: )

Have you tried examining the project files with another text editor to see if they’re still intact?

I have, unfortunately. I opened all the .rtf docs in the project folder > docs folder (and in the backup project folder, too) but none of them are the chapters I’m missing. :frowning:

I think you got hit by the autosave. When it blanked your page, it did the usual “save progress” and overwrote the changes.

Hmm. That could be a real issue if you go to get a cup of coffee and come back to a cat or a toddler on the keyboard :slight_smile:

Probably the case, Inrideo. I just installed Tracker and did a text search for some phrases in the missing chapters, but came up with nothing. I think it’s time to dig in and rewrite what I had. Still – curious to know what caused the two chapters to disappear in the first place. I don’t think even I’m fumble-fingered enough to inadvertently hit select-all and delete in two separate sections. :confused:

If you still have the files with the special characters it certainly would be worth doing a test run with some unimportant text :slight_smile:

I seemed to loose all my words but found that the default colours had changed all on there own. This has happened a couple of times but the solution is easy. Edit > Options > Appearance and put all the colours back to default. Hope your problem is simply this.