Duplicating text doc does not increment session word count


First, let me say – if I haven’t already – that Scrivener has made a huge difference in my process. And now, suddenly, I might actually finish the novel I started 18 years ago. :slight_smile:

On the the bug-- haven’t found it here, so I’m hoping this isn’t a duplicate. Here are the steps and the result:

Case 1:

  1. In the Binder, I duplicate a text document by Option-dragging it, OR by using the contextual menu, OR by using the menu at the bottom of the Binder pane.
  2. If I check the session word count at this point, is still the same as before the duplication. Expected behavior: Word count should increase by the number of words in the duplicated document.
  3. In the new document, I Select All and hit Delete.
  4. When I check the session word count now, it is reduced by the number of words that were in the document.

So, if I write 1,000 words in a text document, then duplicate that text document and clear the new one’s contents, the session word count drops to zero, even though the original 1,000-word document is still there.

Case 2:

  1. and 2) same as above.
  2. In the new (duplicate) document, I select, say, all 1,000 words, then copy and paste them below that text.
  3. Even though I have the 1,000 original text document, plus a new 2,000-word document, the session word count still says only 2,000 (the originally-written 1,000, plus the 1,000 just now pasted).
  4. Again, I select all 2,000 words in the new document and clear.
  5. The session word count is now zero, when it should be 1,000.

So, Scrivener is not incrementing the word count when duplicating the document, but it’s more than happy to decrement it when you delete text. BUT-- This is only true for deletion from within the document. If I delete the duplicated document in the Binder, the number of words does NOT decrement by that document’s word count.

Hope that makes sense.



Thanks for the lengthy report. This isn’t so much a bug, rather the feature is designed to work this way in avoidance of a number of unpredictable problems centred around moving items in and out of the draft. For performance reasons, the session counter is not omniscient. It doesn’t know when you drag files into the Draft, or out of them for that matter (and moving a file to the trash is moving an item from one folder to another, in all but name). It only counts when you are typing in the draft area (or everywhere if the necessary option is disabled). This includes copy, cut and paste incidentally. So if you need to duplicate draft material, creating a new empty document and using copy and paste is usually a better approach if working under a goal.

It’s one of those things that appears broken from one angle, but if you look at from another angle it works the way it should, e.g. if you duplicated a piece of the draft for purposes of doing a rewrite.

But isn’t it true that the count should only include the text in the compile group?

I’m asking because I just did the same, only in reverse — I threw away a chapter (document) only to find I was still as close to my goal as I was before.
Is there really an angle from which it makes sense to keep counting words that have been put in the trash…? :slight_smile:

If I misunderstand things, and the goal does not work with the items included in the compile dialog only, then let me suggest that it should (and that folders or documents moved in and out of it should count towards or from the goal).
That would take care of your situation too — either the duplicated alternate version could be moved out of the group into an external keep-for-later folder, or one would uncheck the “include in compile” box for that document and all would be fine.

Am I missing something?

Absolutely, yes. The session goal counter is meant to count how much you type, not how many documents you’ve moved in or out of the Draft, or duplicated within it. If you have a goal to write 500 words in a day, and you delete a chapter—what does deleting the chapter have to do with that goal of writing 500 new words today? It doesn’t matter if the chapter is going to the trash bin, or to the research folder, or even another area of the draft. That isn’t something the session counter is designed to monitor. It’s purely for word goals, and it does its best to track what you write for that goal.

The total Draft Target sounds more like what you are looking for. That’s just a count of the Draft in accordance with your settings. If you move a file out of the Draft, it decrements. If you duplicate a chapter, it increments. It tracks everything you do.

Well. Okay. Sorry. I may be daft. Friends tell me I am. At least they say they’re my friends. :slight_smile:

But what happens is this.
Let’s say I aim to write a novel of 100.000 words.
On a certain day, I write a chapter of 1.000 words, making me end up at 50.000 words.
I then decide to scrap another, previous chapter, just because I realize it sucks.
So I send that document, 500 words long, to the trash.

Now, as expected, the project counter goes down to 49.500 words.
As it should, since that’s how far off from my target I really am.

But while (though obviously true) I have indeed typed 500 words today, the session target still doesn’t reflect my reality.
Because let’s say I have twenty days to deadline.
Before scrapping my chapter, I had to write 2.500 words per day.
After scrapping my chapter, I need to write 2.525 words to meet my deadline.
And isn’t that the information I need?

I think what we don’t see the same is the purpose of the “session target”.
I think you think of it as a good-for-you kind of friendly meter of how much I’ve managed to put onto the page.
While I think of it as a measure of how much work I need to do to get my book to the publisher on time.

In other words, if I drive ten miles in one direction and then ten more in the opposite, I’m still as far from London as when I started. And it does feel a bit odd that the session target rewards me for driving in circles. Less-then-perfect analogies aside. :slight_smile:

By the way, the more I think of it?
While I hear what you’re saying, is the behavior really consistent, anyway?
Why do you reward me for writing if I write a thousand words and then scrap that chapter as a document — but set me back a thousand words if instead I select the text and delete it?
I still wrote the same amount of text today.
But depending on how I remove it from my project, the session target behaves differently.

Herein, I think, lies part of the confusion.


Okay. Now back to writing.
Can I count the numbers of this post against the target of my book?


I think part of the confusion here is that although the session counter and the total goal counter have precise goals in mind behind their design, there are certain fuzzy areas of usage between the two that must be taken to accommodate common working methods.

For example, you bring up how deleting a section at the Binder is different than deleting the text of that section. Right, but the reason for that is that the session counter needs to be tracking your typing—all of it. If you write “It was a dark and stormy night,” and then rightfully obliterate it, the session counter will remain at zero. I’m sure you can agree that this is a desirable outcome. So we need to track deletions, but that means that there are these fuzzy areas where it starts to accidentally track larger scale editing—like erasing the contents of an entire section.

That’s fine, but I’m merely telling you what the feature was designed for (people who work best to a daily accumulation goal, who often do not mix editing and writing at all) not my opinion on how it should be used. You can try to use it for something else—that’s great, good software lets you stretch a bit—just be aware of the boundaries of how it was designed to work.

There are two bars for this reason: one tracks your keyboard entry and text editing, the other tracks the total stack—regardless of how it got to be that way. This way you have two different tools looking at your work in different ways.

What I still don’t understand is why the project goal bar at the top is not good enough for what you are doing? You need to get something to x words, you can move things around, cut out scenes, add previously discarded chapters and see all of that reflected on the top bar. Why do you need to track this with the daily counter? I don’t mean that as a confrontational question, I just don’t follow what it is you are going for here by trying to use the session counter to track large scale edits.

Absolutely. That’s perfect and logical. That’s the part we totally agree on. :slight_smile:

Hm, well. Here’s where you lose me. It does feel a bit fuzzy, yes — but why does it have to be? Why is “A dark and stormy night” a larger-scale edit if deleted together with the document it’s in, while a five-hundred paragraph is small-scale if I select it with cmd+a and hit backspace?
(Not confrontional either, just trying to understand. Even if, yes, it is kind of a rhetorical question…) :slight_smile:

Here’s my situation, and to be perfectly honest this is what I’ve always thought the feature was designed for:

I have a publisher who expects my completed manuscript on the 1st of March.
I have set a certain total number of words to be completed on that date.
I’ve always considered the “session target” as Scrivener’s little helper telling me today’s actual workload in order to achieve that goal.
And that’s the answer to your question, as I see it:
If I delete stuff from my text — be it just a line of “It was a dark and stormy night” or an entire document of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” — what I have actually achieved today will obviously decrease with the same amount.
And that what I need to write today, in order not to have tomorrow’s workload doubled, will at that point be increased.

Or to put it another way: I’m using the session target to keep me from vacuuming my apartment just because well it’s really needed, yes it is!, is too!, until I’ve actually achieved today’s goal.
Because I’ve always seen the dialog as two ways of tracking my work — i.e. my actual work, not undone work regardless of method of undoing it — and with the two being mathematical functions of each other:

WhatRemainsToWriteToday = TotalGoal / DaysLeft — WrittenSoFarToday.

And I also need to say that I think the checkboxes “automatically calculate from draft deadline” (which I have set to ON) and “count text written anywhere in the project” (which I have set to OFF) even further seems to communicate that “my” behavior is the one to expect.
Because having set it not to count text anywhere, I’m confused to see it count text in the trash…

Again, not trying to be confrontational either. Hence all my smilies. :slight_smile:


PS. Perhaps, if the current behavior is the intended one, what if there could be a setting/option to set the session progress bar to either absolutely measure the “net amount” of today’s written material (my way) or fuzzily measure the “gross amount” (your way, even though I’m still not really clear on your definition of gross since one type of deleting counts and the other doesn’t).
I could be wrong, obviously, but I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s been assuming it’s a “net” counter, and I honestly think that in a deadline situation that’s the method that makes most sense.

See what I mean?

It seems a difference here, and apologies to both of you if I am misinterpreting, is a blurred distinction between writing and editing as it applies to Scrivener.

[Warning: simplistic definitions follow. However, Powerpoint will still not be used]
Writing is about construction, getting words on the screen, production, increase. Certainly, when I write, I strive to not worry too much about quality or I’d never get anything on the screen (I still use Natalie Goldberg’s rule: Be free to write the worst junk in the world). Quantity matters: X words per day.

Editing is about quality, not quantity. I can look at the stuff I wrote yesterday or last week and see that there is some good material amongst the junk, but boy is there a lot of the latter. So I cut and shuffle and rewrite and sometimes delete entire sections (even chapters!). My overall word count will vary accordingly.

This is how I see the Scrivener word count bars. One is based purely on quantity of words produced today - the daily word count. The other is based on the number of quality words - the overall word count (since I’m not going to submit the junk, only the good stuff). Hence one can think about the two bars as separating daily writing (production) and overall editing (quality control of the final product).

One of the ways I work is to set my daily word count to be more than the bare minimum needed to reach my target by the due date because I know that much of it will be deleted (e.g. if my calculated word count was 1000 words per day, I may set it at 1250). This also means that I have a fair to middling chance of actually meeting my deadlines because (a) I will finish the first draft with time to spare and (b) will be able to use that time to edit and finesse to my own expected standard.

Not to say that either approach discussed in the thread above is right or wrong - I can see LatteAddict’s point. As someone who intends to separate writing and editing, I don’t always manage to do so and sometimes have been caught by the same difficulty LA describes. However, remembering the distinction between writing and editing helps me be clear about what I am doing at any one point in time. Am I trying to produce words here and move the project on, or am I now editing? Sometimes just being aware of this allows me to let go of the editor and write, or to put aside the writer for a while to focus on structure and quality.

Just offering a different perspective on the discussion based on my experience using Scrivener.

I have never been bothered with targets, just not necessary for my work. But I can see two different types of “deleting”.

Let’s assume you are one of those people for whom each binder document consists of one paragraph. One morning you create a new document in the draft folder and type a paragraph, let’s say 300 words long. In doing that, you have typed 300 words which will augment both your session count and your project count.

You then decide that that paragraph is simple verbosity, so you highlight it and hit the delete key intending to start again. To me, your session count and your project count should reduce by 300 as those words no longer exist within your project, as the binder document is now empty.

On the other hand, if you decide that you don’t think the paragraph improves your WIP as you see it at the moment, but on the other hand there is merit in it which might be useful later, so you move it out of the draft folder into the research folder or just as a sibling of the draft folder. Those words still exist and can be recovered into your manuscript by dragging the document back into the draft folder. So moving it out of the draft should leave your session count intact, but decrement the project count by those 300 words.

So what if you decide that you really don’t like that document and delete it from the binder … it’s moved into trash. But unless you empty the trash, it’s still there and can be recovered by simply dragging it back into the binder proper. So, what is in the trash should be seen as the equivalent of our second instance, until such time as you empty your trash … it is still part of what you have typed that session, so the session count should remain the same, but the project count should be decremented by 300.

My 1/2 p


Okidoke. There are more needs than one. Fair enough. And I know my editing-while-writing method isn’t advocated by most people, but it works for me — or rather: it’s the only way I’m able to work. But each to his own.

Still, regardless of whether one likes pouring words onto the paper, I’m not sure why one would want deleted words (if they are deleted as documents) not to count backwards from today’s work. For a pourer-not-editorer, it doesn’t matter since that’s editing anyway. Right?

Two thoughts: Nom, I think there is a difference between how you and I actually use the target counters — you “set your daily word count to be more than the bare minimum needed to reach your target by the due date”.
I, however, have checked the “automatically calculate from draft deadline” checkbox. And here’s where I think the underlying logic goes a bit off. Because what good is that calculation, if it only counts my daily workload in the morning but then won’t keep track of whether I meet it?

Also, Xiamenese, I sort of see what you mean by “what is in the trash should be seen as the equivalent of our second instance, until such time as you empty your trash” —(even though I would be terrified to store things I might want to use in the trash, but that’s obviously beside the point.) :slight_smile:
But. When I look at the settings dialog, that’s what the checkbox “count text written anywhere in the project” signals to me. I have that set to off — so things in trash (or external folders) shouldn’t count.

Anyways. Bottom line, we obviously look at those things differently — and that’s fine.
I care about how far I need to travel each day to get to a certain city.
This means that if I drive in circles for one entire day, I care less about how far I drove, I care about not having gotten any closer to the city than this morning.
You, on the other hand, care more about the driving — perhaps we didn’t get any closer to London, but we drove x amount of miles and that’s encouraging in itself.
And that’s cool, too.

My only wish would be for both worlds to coexist. And I think the simple solution would be a checkbox saying “moving documents outside of compile group reduces today’s written amount” or something to that effect.