How do I make erasing text n o t reducing my daily target word count?

This didn’t use to be the case, but the UI for Project Stats/Targets is now somewhat confusing (Stats have tabs, Targets have “buttons” that you have to understand are buttons) so maybe I have done this to myself:

If I cut a piece of text from my manuscript, the word count under daily target is deducted accordingly. Not that it matters hugely, I know how much I write, but just logically it’s wrong. I have still written X words today, even if I also did som editing somewhere else in the manuscript.

Anyone know what do to?

Not on the Mac at the moment, but somewhere in the Project Targets dialogue (under Options, I think) there’s a setting to tick ‘allow negatives’ (can’t remember the exact wording…). Does changing that setting make a difference?

Thanks Brookter, but unfortunately that makes the Daily Target count go into negatives if you delete text instead of just reaching zero count, regardless of how much you delete.

This is very strange when I think more about it. Writing a longer thing might easily and often involve deleting more words than your writing target when editing. Doesn’t mean you haven’t done your daily pensum, quite the opposite! :slight_smile:

OK, I think I know what’s happening. This is what the manual says (page 513) about that option:

Allow negatives When disabled, the session counter will never drop below zero. Leave this on to get an accurate net total of your writing session. When disabled, deletions will still be counted, but only until the counter reaches zero, so some deletions would no longer be counted after that point, making it less accurate for calculating the true net.

So it looks like all deletions are counted, but the switch determines whether the counter is allowed to show a negative number or not. I can’t find a way of preventing deletions being counted at all. Sorry for any confusion.

I assume the philosophy is that it’s the number of new words remaining at the end of the session which matters—and session targets are primarily used for the creation of new content. When you’re editing, then you’d be looking at the specific document word count/target (I must get this one down to 250 words…). But I don’t know the precise reasoning.

Thanks for your thougts, brookter. That’s about what I managed to figure out as well after trying a few things with the negatives switch flicked to ‘on’

The philosophy, whatever it is, seems weird in relation to reality, though. Anyone who has done some longer writing knows that after a while you are rewriting as well as writing anew in every session. I’m about 90.000 words into my current manuscript, which is fairly close to the target before sending it in to the publisher. So I’m writing on the last, concluding chapter, as well as doing editing and rewriting. I still have my daily targets since I still have to produce text, but it’s cumbersome to have to count them in my head just because the target function reduces the words written when I delete something.

The progress of the manuscript is never about the net count, it’s about the quality. Daily targets is a very good way to have a pensum that instills dicipline. But that doesn’t mean that all those words make it into the draft. For a majority of writers, the text produced is something to then work with, to mold like clay. But you have manufacture new clay constantly,

What I mean is that for anyone that writes longer stuff, it would be strange philosophy to approach the work like a relay run. First write X0.000 words and not until you have them start editing. For everybody to their own accord, obviously. But I have yet to meet anyone that isn’t rewriting almost immediately after starting writing.

But maybe it isn’t a misdirected philosophy at work at all – I just realized that my Daily Target also resets every time I open Scrivener. Even though I’ve set it to reset at one o’clock in the morning. Maybe something is wrong with my installation/version of the application?

I can’t speak for the developers, of course, but Scrivener has been working this way for many years, with many professional users who have published many long works with it. If the philosophy was so antithetical to their needs, it would probably be a constant source of comment in these forums, and it isn’t. People legitimately work in different ways and no software tool can meet them all, I suppose.

BTW, have you had a chance to look at the manual (section 20.1)? It goes into quite a lot of depth about how the various count tracking tools work together and why. There may be a better combination of settings for how you like to work – I hope so. Good luck!

Your intuitive logic is illogical to me.

Imagine you set up a target to produce a 90 k novel , to be delivered in 90 days, and get an advance for this. If you sit down and write a thousand words every day but ultimately delete it all because you think it’s crap, after 90 days you have zero words, nothing, and not 90 k words. Telling your publisher that you have actually written 90k words that you deleted won’t make them any happier.

If you write the first sentence, delete it, make another attempt, delete it, and the on the third try you get it right. Ten words. Then you have actually only written ten words. The failed attempts might as well have been written only in your mind.

When you edit the text, you’re not producing, your finishing. What matters is the final quality, not how many words you change.

Note that there are a few mechanisms available for “soft deleting” text. That is marking it as deleted in ways that for all practical purposes is deleting it, without actually removing the physical characters from the editor. If you prefer the session counter be something that merely increments whenever you press the spacebar after a letter, no matter what else you do during the session, then these methods will be what you want to use. §15.2.3, Marking Text for Deletion, pg. 383.

For most purposes, strike-through is going to be the most straightforward. It has a default shortcut, an intuitive way of presenting the text itself, and can be easily cleaned out en masse at a latter point with a single menu command (or optionally all struck-through text can be omitted from the output when compiling). It is also compatible with revision levels.