Well, I only lost 250 words, so this isn’t the end of the world, but losing any work at all is disheartening. What I lost was the result of a brainstorm where I nailed down some particularly sticky details, so it feels like a bigger setback than it really is. I actually have some of the important hard-to-reproduce stuff jotted down in Soulver, so in the big picture this is pretty insignificant.
However, I’d like for this never ever to happen to me again. So I’d really like some advice with syncing workflow.
The devices I’d like to be able to use: desktop (Mac Pro), laptop (MacBook Air), tablet (3rd gen iPad), phone (iPhone 4S). Phone is not as critical but I’ve written thousands of words just with the phone. Admittedly not all at once, but it would be nice to keep the iPhone in my workflow.
Desktop and laptop present no problem whatever. Save to dropbox, then make sure that I remember to close Scrivener on the desktop before I leave the house so as not to encounter a file locking issue.
iOS devices present a problem: I don’t expect Scrivener for iOS to appear any time soon (though I do search the App Store for “Scrivener” a couple times a week, just in case.) So I’m back to Byword. I set up “sync with external folder” with a folder on Dropbox, then opened up one of those files in Byword, made some changes, hit “sync” in Scrivener and saw my changes. Wonderful.
Now, it must have something to do with the way Byword autosaves but after writing a few hundred words I tried again and found that this time, Scrivener’s latest version overwrote Byword’s. And I didn’t have to touch Byword. I was watching when the text I had just written disappeared in Byword. No undo available, the text was just gone.
So unless I can find what I did wrong (or failed to do right) or someone can clue me in to a better way, I think I might revert to manually copying the contents of documents in Byword and documents in Scrivener. That seems to be the only way I’ll preserve italics, too. It’s a little bit of a pain to keep track of, but hopefully I won’t lose anything.
More specifics (I’m asking for help, so I ought to eliminate some variables):
What I was using before Scrivener: 60% Byword, 40% pen-on paper subsequently typed into Byword if it were actual narrative, left in notebook if it were just project notes.
What I’m doing: it’s a fiction project. While I’m starting with something that will be a short story or novella, it’s part of a multigenerational epic (in scale, not trying to toot my own horn about something I haven’t written yet) so I’m also writing parts outside the short story.
Why I bought Scrivener: Byword and longhand are brilliant for the actual narrative writing and brainstorming parts. But there are a lot of details to keep track of—details that have changed enough times that keeping track meant flipping back and forth through pagemarks in my notebooks trying to reconcile timelines and doing a terrible job of keeping any consistent set of notes.