I write the synopses for my screenplays using corkboard view. I save often. Unfortunately, rather frequently, scrivener deletes all the text from several, seemingly random, note cards. Why is it doing this, and how can I stop it from happening?
I’ve already had to re-write synopses far too many times. It’s getting very frustrating.
I am using scrivener for Windows running Windows 7.
I’m very sorry you’ve been having trouble! Could you detail a bit any steps leading up to the synopsis text disappearing from the cards? Does this happen while you’re watching, e.g. you’re typing a card, you click on something else in the corkboard, the text you just typed vanishes? Or is this something that happens when the corkboard isn’t visible and you’re working in another part of the interface, and then when you return to view the same cards on the corkboard, the text is gone? Have you tried using the project search from the top right of the project window to search for any of the missing synopsis text? Sorry for a lot of questions, but anything you can answer there may help diagnose the problem. Also be sure you’ve updated to version 1.5.3 if you have not already; there were some enhancements and a host of bug fixes, so it’s best to make sure we’re working with the latest version and not stumbling over something that’s already been addressed. You can update to 1.5.3 if necessary via Help > Check for Updates or by just downloading the 1.5.3 installer from the website.
I have updated to the most recent version of Scrivener.
The text seems to be disappearing when the corkboard isn’t visible and I’m working in writing mode. I write out my synopsis as an outline of my screenplay, then I’ll get to work writing up a scene, then I go back to corkboard and some of the cards will be blank. The titles on the cards are not affected, just everything else. I have the same issue from time to time when I open up scrivener. I’ll write out several cards for an idea that comes into my head, then I’ll manually save (I was hoping that that would solve the problem), and close down the laptop. The next time I open the program, some of the cards will be blank.
I have tried using project search, and I have tried simple ctrl+f. I’ve even gone into the note cards and tried ctrl+z.
Is the project saved to a location that might be volatile, like a Google Drive folder? The text of each index card is saved into its own file, so if the index cards come up blank, it might be that something is reverting or deleting those text files periodically. We’ve had numerous reports of data just disappearing from Google Drive (and not just with Scrivener), so that is something that comes to mind.
Saving (or not saving for that matter) shouldn’t make much of a difference. Like I say when you type into a card and then confirm the change, the text file is updated or created (if necessary) right then and there on your disk.
I’m brand new to Scrivener, so don’t have much experience to back this up, but I wonder if the key might lie in the clause that I highlighted in the quote. A couple of times as I was experimenting with typing in cards on the corkboard, I found that what I wrote disappeared or was not saved when I moved away from the card. In title lines, at any rate, I found that I had to press Enter for changes to take effect. How does one “confirm the change” in the text area of an index card?
Definitely. It was a fitting end to a great career.
There is nothing special that you need to do here, it happens automatically whenever you move the typing focus out of the synopsis field. You can use the Tab key to jump from card to card and title to synopsis within the card; you can click on the background with the pointer; you can press Return if you have your Tools/Options... “Navigation” settings default; you can also hit Esc to stop editing and confirm the changes. There is actually no way to stop editing in such a way that the original contents of the card are reverted to their original state.
Which is why the problem must be coming from some issue with how files are saved to your disk. It’s as if they are refusing to save at all (silently, if they refused in a typical way, the software would detect that and immediately abort, letting you know the project data was at risk), or something is deleting files you’ve created, periodically.
Now as for titles, without getting too technically, the tile is saved elsewhere. I mentioned that the contents of the card were saved to individual .txt files, one for each card. The title is special since that is used throughout the interface. But again, there is no way to type in a title and cancel what you’ve typed. Every method of moving the active focus out of the card will confirm your changes transparently. So if you are typing in a title and it immediately disappears after you are done, then I would ask if this happens elsewhere. Does that happen when you change the name of something in the Header Bar, Outliner, Binder, or the index card in the Inspector? Let me know if you need guidance for finding any of those.
I don’t know what this “Google Drive folder” is that you speak of. But I’m writing on a stand-alone laptop that I bought for the express purpose of writing. I do not connect it to the interwebs at all. I connect every few weeks for automatic updates, and to check on scrivener updates. And the laptop is just a few months old.
Google Drive is basically like Dropbox, if you’ve heard of that. It just lets you keep multiple computers up to date with on another without a need to manually copy files back and forth. However unlike Dropbox, we’ve seen a significant ratio of users having problems with it—and many of them look like what you describe. Basically Scrivener saves something, and a few seconds later Google Drive seemingly malfunctions and restores an older version of the file Scrivener just saved, causing it to mysteriously vanish. Hence, I’ve got to ask that question when symptoms are described like yours.
Okay, one way to test what is going on is to keep the Scrivener data folder open beside Scrivener, while you work. In the project folder, navigate into Files/Docs, and just resize and move that window so that you can keep it alongside your main project window. You’ll see a bunch of numbered files. What I recommend is setting the folder display to “Detailed” and add the “Date Modified” column, clicking the header column to sort ascending. Now the files that Scrivener has modified or added will be pushed to the top of the list.
What you’re looking for are plain-text files with names like “38_synopsis.txt”. You should see one of those pop up to the top of the list whenever you edit an index card’s synopsis field, a few seconds after you move on to the next card. When that happens, double-click on the card and see if your text is there. Don’t edit it, just look and close. Now click around, do what you have to do to make the synopsis revert, and keep an eye out on that data folder. When the synopsis goes blank, check and see if the numbered synopsis card is still there—open it again in Notepad to see if the contents are in it.