Set Session Target by Page

Hey Keith,

I’m in the middle of ScriptFrenzy and noticed that it’s not possible to set a session target based on page count. You have it as an option under Project Target, but not under Session. Just wondering if you could add that at some point. Obviously, it can’t happen by the end of this month, but maybe before next April? :slight_smile:

Thanks.

Hi Kyle,

This is a deliberate omission owing to the technical difficulties of calculating how many pages you have written during a session. It’s straightforward for calculating the page count of the entire draft, as Scrivener just has to compile everything in the background and count the pages generated (which takes a while, which is why page count targets have to manually refreshed otherwise everything would slow to a crawl as it tried to do this every time you typed a letter).

That’s not really possible with session count targets, though. For the word and character count, it uses some simple internal routines that count the difference in numbers of words, which are simple integer values. There’s no simple way of doing this with page count. If it tried to count the pages live, it would break if you switched out page layout view and also most likely be inaccurate - you could type a single word that got pushed onto another page and that page with only one word on it would be counted as a whole page gain. The accurate way of doing it would be to grab all the words you have typed and throw them into a page layout view - but this would mean that Scrivener would need to try to keep a track of all the words you typed during a session, which would be technically difficult to accomplish. Keeping a word count and character count is simple, but having Scrivener trying to grab partial ranges of text and keep them in sync with edits you make to larger ranges of text would be error-prone and slow - typing speed would almost certainly take a hit.

If a more elegant solution reveals itself, it’s certainly something I would add - it’s just something very difficult to implement in a meaningful way that wouldn’t slow everything down or just give bad results.

Thanks and all the best,
Keith

Fair enough. Consider the request retracted :smiley:

Ha, no, it’s a fair request and will stay on the list of future possibilities until I figure out a way that it could work - so retraction denied! :slight_smile:

Thanks,
Keith

I’m wondering if the following implementation would go against your quest to ‘implement it in a meaningful way’:

If you could somehow generate an average ‘words-per-page’ count, based on whatever compile settings are specified by default for a given type of output (be it a screenplay, a novel, or any other ‘preset’ output type), then you could just keep dividing the number of words written during the current session by that number, and generate an estimated page count that way.

Of course, I’m guessing you would have to run some kind of script on a whole bunch of different documents in at least a few different compile settings, in order to arrive at an average that’s anywhere close to reliable. But the advantage would be that you’d only have to crunch the numbers once for every compile setting. You could then store your averages in some kind of persistent data structure, and refer to them as needed.

Bad idea?

Probably.

I suppose you could have it set so that a “page” is really just a certain number of words - say 250 words count as a page - but the main problem is that the writers most likely to want a page count target are scriptwriters, and because of script formatting a set number of words counting as a page wouldn’t really mean much. It would be a source of confusion and thus support.

All the best,
Keith

I don’t want or need a page count target but how about this…

  • You will be able to select “pages” in the targets dialogue
  • Doing this will bring up some warning that your editor will switch to scrivenings view*(See below)
  • By rendering the document in page layout mode you’ll have a word count & page count
  • With these you can effectively run a word count target, but display it as a page count target by factoring in the average words by page (if you get my drift)
  • A “refresh page target” option could be added to increase accuracy mid session.

I think it would work well enough, and be just as accurate as doing the same math outside of Scrivener.

*Could you calculate the total page count without the editor changing? If so then this thread could run when you click “apply” without needing to swap the editor around.

There was a time when I thought I needed a page count, too.

Because I was used to it. I was used to think in pages. When you start writing on typewriters, you start by counting the pages you write per day, not by counting words: Too much effort when done by hand.

But why should I need any count (be it pages, words, characters) as long as the novel is not yet finished? Because I want to see whether I am making sufficient progress. Hemingway counted words for the same reason, and what was good enough for him shouldn’t do no harm to me.

The point is: To know whether I am making progress, any count will do. Some time ago, I started to think in words. One get used to it. Words are not bad as a measure scale. Rules of thumb: A novel with 50.000 words is a small one, 100.000 words is a good brick how publishers like it these days, 150.000 is a thick one. 1000 words per day is a good quota (takes you 100 days to accomplish a first draft of a good brick, and 100 days are 3 months). And so on.

Whether you are counting words or pages, there will always be difficult scenes where a progress of 10 lines per day will be a good accomplishment and easy scenes where you’ll write 10 pages a day even when you’re lazy. On the long run, it gets balanced. And I guess this will not be that different for screenwriters.

So, my advice: Try to think in words, count your progress in words - it’s really not difficult, and it does the job of progress metering just as well.

(When looking into the future of publishing – with the rise of eBooks and all – the “page” may loose its meaning anyway.)

A session target by page would be really, really useful for screenwriting!

I would suggest as a solution to the technical challenge, to refresh the session page count when the format style changes to one of the big three (Character, Action or Scene Heading).

An “update” button would be good too, though the automatic update would be ideal, since checking the meter with a flick of the eye doesn’t really interrupt the writing flow.

Ideally progress would be measured in .25 or .5 pages. Personally, I’d prefer “quarter-pages completed” (so ignoring the one word or one sentence at the start of a new page), though I imagine others might favour “quarter started” or “nearest quarter”.