I’ve had scrivener for a couple of years now. I’ve written one novel with it without any problems at all. Now that I am working on my first draft of my second story, I am frustrated with various things about the program. I have tried reading the tutorial (about five times) and have looked online but it may as well be in Swahili. I’ve read that it’s supposed to make writing easier but either I’m stupid or I’m reading things that make the program seem easier than it is. I don’t know what else to do.

I hope venting your frustration has made you feel better, and I thank you for doing it in a civilised way.

Perhaps, if you told us here on the forum precisely what your sticking points are, we may be able to help you? What are you wanting to do that you are not managing to achieve?



One main thing I have noticed is on the previous work, I could click the manuscript link and it would give me the total word count for everything but with the new project it only gives me the word count total for the first chapter/scene so I don’t know how to fix that. Also, I want to take advantage of some of the things I have read about regarding the tools that make accessing and putting data and research into the program but again, I have no clue about what I am doing. I admit the first efforts were using the basic things needed to get my story out but I have learned some lessons during my journey with my first project and I want to incorporate them into the current. However, I hoped to get better with the program thus getting better with my second attempt in writing and it feels like I am running in quicksand. I’m not grasping the different things I can use with the program. Having to stop everytime I want or need to use something or use a feature to look up the issue in the tutorial or the PDF manual takes away from trying to get words on paper.

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by ‘manuscript link’, but I presume you’re referring to what is called the Draft folder by default and its contents. Try Project Statistics (Project->Project Statistics) for a total draft word count of all the documents marked for inclusion in Compile. Searching the forum will also throw up similar queries.
As for how to use other features (of Scriv or any other programme), it’s very hard to do this without engaging with the manual. Scriv’s manual is lengthy, but it is word-searchable and divided up into very clear sections. Of course you can always ask questions here on the forum, which is a very user-friendly place. As Mark mentioned, however, you’ll have to be a bit more specific in what you’re trying to do. You mention tools for accessing and storing data and research in Scriv. Do you mean importing PDFs, web pages, pictures, etc?

Yes, I’m referring to the draft folder. I’ve read and reread the manual a handful of times, three just today alone, and what’s supposed to be this wonderful, productive thing has only made me frustrated and depressed. I think I am in over my head. When I first got the program, I spent all day going through the tutorial, literally all day. So it’s not like I’m not taking the time to try to figure it out.

Word count can be seen in Outline mode. Right-click and choose whatever dat you want to show for each item.

Perhaps you should start writing instead of reading the manual? You don’t have to learn everything at once. Start writing and learn as you go along.

And when you ask questions in here, be specific. Ask about exactly what it is you want to do, not general question…

I’ve had this thing for two years, trust me it’s not an “all at once” thing. but I would like to resolve this word count issue AND incorporate new stuff to maybe be better at it all

When I check word count, I do it in Outliner mode, as I said. I right click with the mouse in the title bar and get the option to choose word count per part, character count, etc.

Incorporate new stuff? Text in the Draft part, or extra info in the Research part?

I figured out the word count issue. I had to add each chapter individually to the manuscript. I thought when I made a new chapter it would automatically do it. When I said incorporate new stuff I meant us more features, basically just use the program to be more efficient and productive

That’s what I meant with “general question”. :slight_smile:

How you become more productive depends entirely on the way you work with Scrivener. There are several good books on how to use Scrivener. I myself found Get Control of Scrivener (e-book) to be of help in the beginning.

I’ll check it out, thanks

In truth, Scrivener was really doing things automatically just like you would wish it to – counting all and only the words in your Draft/Manuscript folder! You would not want it to count the text in your Research folder, for example. Similarly, you would not want Scrivener to count any words in documents outside your designated Draft/Manuscript folder.

So, the trick was coming to see that being Manuscript/Draft folder is how Scrivener understands what is part of your manuscript.

So when you create new content folders/documents you should create them inside the Draft/Manuscript folder, not somewhere else.

I was or I thought I was. Maybe I need to take a few days off from writing and play with it. But if I do that then I risk procrastinating

But you said:

And I don’t know what that means unless you mean that you dragged some of your chapter documents and dropped them into the Draft/Manuscript folder. Which pretty much implies they were located somewhere else before that!

When you have the Draft (or manuscript link as you called it) selected, or indeed any document or folder within the Draft selected, clicking on the add button will automatically add the new document or folder to the Draft (i.e. your manuscript). If you have Research selected, or any document/folder within Research, clicking on the add button will automatically add the new document or folder to Research. It sounds like you are adding your chapters to the Research folder.

I am a professional code monkey and graphic artist. Getting frustrated with software is my job description.
However, along the way I learned a few tricks.

  1. Join read and participate in the forum. You are doing that already.
  2. Read the manual. Yes I know. It’s boring. So keep it hand it and skim a bit at the time. You never know when you’ll read something that you’ll find useful.
  3. Google things. Just formulate the question you have the way you would to a friend. A very annoying friend.
  4. Rather that trying to learn software while working on an important project, do it on a project you call “trash-me-when-I-am-done”. In thre try to do a bunch of stuff and organize things as wildly as you can.
  5. Be patient and always name things using common sense and save them where you are going to be sure to find them again.
  6. Read error alerts. In other words, don’t just press “Go”, “yes”, “Enter” etc. But actually take the time to read what the alert says.
  7. When in the forum, read the questions of other beginners. You’ll find gold.

I use this (and more) to learn most of the software I have learned over the years. When a friend gave me his Mac+ with a 1MB hard drive and a few diskettes with Excel, Word and an early version of Photoshop, I had never even touched a computer in my whole life.

Two months later I created a number of spreadsheets that tracked the lifespan of every piece of raw material, grinding equipment, hours worked, etc in my Art Glass factory.
When my wife and I started we made some assumptions to price our products. By learning excel (and later Filemaker pro) and building my own tracking system I learned that our assumptions were way off. For instance, our most expensive item after labor was raw glass. We figured our waste factor was 7% and for two years we kept assuming that. After I devised a method to track actual use of the raw materials and I had my workers weigh the glass before and after they processed it, we learned our waste factor was closer to 18%.
That was our profit.
I could not make the glass cheaper not I could eliminate breakage, but knowing for sure versus hoping made a huge difference in the way we priced our products.

These days, almost every client I have consider taking the step to learn how their business and their software interact beneath them. They are wrong. Until somebody invents true AI, we ar going to have to adapt to our software and not the other way around.

Software like Scrivener is already as flexible as software can be. But it’s not perfect. Specifically, it won’t work exactly the way you would like it to. In fact, it’s likely that if you could write your own idea of the perfect program, it would be inferior to scrivener.

I realize that the learning curve for any program is hard and can seem like a waste of time, but trust me, it pays off in the end.

I am a new user to Scrivener. I wrote my first book in Word and had some real frustrations so I have turned to Scrivener, but I have now lost my first bit of writing which I did in compose mode and now I just can’t find it anywhere. How does one save things in Scrivener? This is so basic I feel like I’m not cut out for this program. Does anyone have any suggestions? Sorry I know I’m just jumping in here but I also can’t figure out how to post a new question on this forum.

Welcome to Scrivener and the forums! I’m sorry you are experiencing some frustration.

Scrivener by default autosaves the doc you are working on whenever you pause for any length of time. For this reason it is extremelly unlikely that your text vanished. The problem/confusion lies elsewhere. But more clues might be needed to help you unravel this mystery.

Here is a quick thing you can do: click on your Draft folder. Now switch to Scrivenenings view from the View Mode toggle on the toolbar. Scroll through the editor to see is the mystery text appears there. If your text is lurking somewhere inside the draft folder, you should see it there.

Here is something that can often confuse prople just coming to Scriv and might explain your situation: In Scrivener, both folders and text documents can have textual content (and folders and be converted to doc and vice versa). When you click on a text doc in the Binder, Scriv shows to the textual content of the doc by default. when you click on a folder, Scriv by default shows you the other items the folder contains – not the folder’s own textual content.

So, if you had a folder selected in the Binder when you went into composition mode, you typed textual content into the content area of the folder itself, and now you do not know how to view that text again.

Look at the icons in your Binder. By default, these icons change to indicate whether the item is entirely empty, has text in its synopsis field or has text in its body. I bet you will find there is a folder in your binder which looks different from the others, because it has text in its body.

If so click on that folder. Then click on the document icon on the tripartite View Mode toggle on the toolbar (the other view modes are outline or corkboard). This will tell Scriv that you want to see the body content of the folder.

If all that is right, you will probably want to cut that text out of there and paste it into a new doc.

Without more info abt your situation, that is all I can think of.


Look under File -> Open recent

Scrivener saves automatically

What he said. Dang.