Where in the novel I am?


I like Scrivener so far but there is one thing I cannot figure out: Is there a way to see, where in your manuscript you are? I am editing right now and it would be useful if I could see at a glance that scene number 12 in chapter 3 is at roundabout page 120 or at X% of the manuscript. Is there such a function and I just was not able to find it?

Would that be in mass market paperback, trade paperback, hardcover or double-spaced Courier manuscript page numbers? :slight_smile: This is similar to Scrivener’s problem with knowing that, since your work isn’t formatted until you create a document from it.

But if you’re just looking for a rough feeling like a progress bar in an ebook reader might give you, honestly probably the easiest way to get that is to do exactly what needs to be done: make a quick document with the compiler, using PDF, and look up where you were. Hint, if you type in something nonsense like %MARKER% before doing that, and then search for it in your PDF reader you can probably do all of this in a few seconds.

Of course it would be a rough estimate but a useful one which I get from Papyrus for example and which I got used to. The text changes a lot while editing and to compile again and again so that I know if the story should advance a bit quicker or slower would not work that good. For once or twice, yes, but not more often.
A pity.

The text changes a lot while editing and to compile again and again so that I know if the story should advance a bit quicker or slower would not work that good.

I am a little puzzled as to why one would need to know at a constant pace this kind of information. Surely for what you are speaking of, it would take more than a few minutes to fix such a thing—if you are at a point where you’d like to be toward the end of the story, but in fact are not in terms of word count. Maybe I do not understand.

I was meaning to say less about the matter of it being an estimate, that will always be the case of course, but that you are asking something of the program that it cannot do. It’s fine if you used a program in the past that used pagination, and that made a particular tool for doing this the best way in that program. But if you are going to use another program that has no idea what a page is, and allows you to construct text into hundreds of little snippets organised into a topical tree, instead—then you’re going to want to look for a different approach to getting a sense of the reader’s journey through your text.

I’ve always used word or character counts for getting a sense of “distance”. It’s just a different number in the end, a different ruler. In Scrivener there are good ways to see this information, such as clicking on the Draft, selecting Outline mode from the View menu, and adding the “Total Character/Word Count” column. You can see if you have too to read between important events this way. And to my mind it is the kind of thing that is not so easily done in a word processor. You would have to scroll around a lot more, looking for this or that scene and taking down notes of page numbers. Here it is all neatly summarised by your own outline.

Hi Michou,

See the post from @Ampan in this thread, as well as the responses to it. Another post you might find interesting is this one from @Silverdragon .

Both posts discuss a method of dealing with the problem of pacing, which I think is what you’re after.

As Amber mentions upthread, Scrivener offers some unique tools for handling this, which these posters (and I) use with the Save the Cat beat sheet approach to plotting. I believe this method would apply to any approach to plot structure.


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I do use the word count, yes, and I am not so keen on the page count, that was just method to see where I am. Let’s say the first body in a crime novel appears at around fifty percent of the draft than I know some readers might think that this is quite late. With some kind of progress bar or page counting I keep myself on track while writing and editing :slight_smile: And this example has got nothing to do with my problem right now … :smiley:

Hmm, if a “50%” type thing is what you need, maybe try my previous suggestion, but instead of viewing the Draft as an outline, view it as Scrivenings. Now all of the text is in the editor at once, and you can see where you are by the scrollbar position.

Well, yes and no. This is kind of what I want but not exactly. A quick overview at a glance it what I would need. But now, hélas, you’ve given me something else to play with which really doesn’t help with working right now - got site tracked now :smiley: Shame on you, Jim :smiley:

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Ok, not too bad an idea. I am still playing around with the program. There is one thing I also seem to keep missing:

What means progress and progress in total? What do I need to turn on to see something in this column?
(BTW thanks for the quick help and if it was not yet clear: I love scrivener :slight_smile: Oh, and if help were needed for the German translation just give me a shout .) )

Progress counts towards the target set for (if you’ve set one) the listed item. Total is the sum including all child elements.

A target for each scene?

If you want, yes. :man_shrugging:t2:

Hell, no :smiley:
Sorry for those stupid questions. It is just a bit confusing sometimes - two languages at once and a relatively new program. I am constantly searching for stuff for which I know via the forum and the manual the English word but not the used German one :smiley:

Wouldn’t it be easier to set the program language to English in this case? For now. :eyes:

Perhaps. But as I was looking for a non-existing function it did not matter too much.

Depends. If you know the desired target for your final draft, e.g. in “Normseiten” (1800 characters per page?), it would be pretty easy to set sub-targets for all major plot stages / folders, e.g. using the “Save the Cat” method or whatever, and the “progress total” in the Outliner would give you an excellent overview. Without micromanaging each scene.

I am not a plotter at all, so I need the word count just for keeping track and not for setting a goal. So a goal for each scene would be unnessecary for me. The word count per chapter is more important to me. And well, the relation between all the important events in the story.

I see. The problem is: Scrivener doesn’t know where you actually are between the first blank line and your future final draft. Unless you specify at least a some kind of target (characters or words). What comes closest to this very loose idea of “where” is @AmberV’s suggestion using Scrivenings mode.

Scrivener does not but I would. If displaying the whole draft, completed or not, and showing me that the cursor stands at 24.888 words of 85.000 I would know where I am.

If that’s possible – then I don’t know how. Yes, would be neat (feature wish?).

Are you sure that you’re not a plotter? (Or a pacer? Is that a word?) :thinking: