Word-Count ist different from NaNoWriMo-count

Hello Scrivener-Team,

I am participating in the NaNoWriMo and I got the free NaNoWriMo-Trial-Version of Scrivener for Windows. So far I am very content with Scrivener. Although the dictionary doesn’t work correctly yet (German dictionary, but I don’t mind), it seems to be the perfect writing software for me until yesterday.
In Scrivener the word count told me that I had 5013 words. Then I wanted to verify it on the NaNoWriMo-site (just to check) and the NaNoWriMo word count told me, I only had 4252 words! I tried in another writing programm and it also said 4252 words! I don’t mind if a writing programm’s word count has ten words more or less but 750 words is rather a lot!
Is there any way this mistake can be corrected? Because I really like Scrivener and I’d like to work in it but I need a correct word count.

Yours, Rose-ink

Hi Rose,

I’m not sure this is an error (nor if my theory is right), but I think what’s causing the difference is most software (such as MS office, etc) don’t count contractions as 2 words, but one. Scrivener I think counts it as 2. Could this be the cause of the discrepancy?

(I will test this, but at the moment, it’s working fine on my XP netbook, but won’t work with my windows 7 desktop, as it keeps coming up with RTF read errors, and won’t load my text!)

The validation check on the NaNo site will check differently–all word processors have different algorithms for this, so it’s just going to be a matter of playing with it to see what counts and what doesn’t (ergo you get some test time before the end of the month!). There’s at least one thread dedicated to discussing this over in the NaNoWriMo forums, but if recall correctly a few big things you’ll want to do that will make counts match:

  • Hyphenated words count as one by the NaNo robots, no matter how many words and how many hyphens. Before you upload, do a find/replace to add a space after your hyphens.

  • Words tied together with an ellipsis will likewise count as one. Do a find/replace to add an extra space to separate them.

  • And ditto for em- or en-dashes.

What you’ll probably find easiest is waiting to do the big find/replace until the end, and doing it not directly in Scrivener but in the compiled copy of your work. That way you won’t end up with these extra spaces in your good copy, just in the validation one.

Okay, thank you. I was just a little bit shocked, because eighthundred words is a rather big difference. The problem is that I usually make extra space between ellipsis and dashes. So this can’t be the reason. I have checked through my manuscript about the hyphenated words and let the NaNo word count check again: the same result, about 800 words less than Scrivener.
But thank you for your explanations!

Yours, Rose-ink

I have just checked my word count with the Nanowrimo Validator and it looks like the Scrivener Word Count is spot on. :frowning: Oh well at least it’s accurate! :frowning:

One other thing with this–how are you checking the word count in Scrivener and how are you getting the text out to check in another program? Project Statistics will be the most accurate in giving you your compiled document count, as it uses your current compile settings, but this means that if you’re just copying and pasting text from Scrivener into another program, you may not be getting all the same text the compiler would use–for instance, if compile is including titles or title prefixes, those won’t be included when you just copy text from the editor, but their word count will be included in Project Statistics. So that could be affecting the difference as well.

Normally, compile will only add words though. However, if you are using compile and getting close to 800 words fewer with such a small base number, I’d suggest you verify that all of the documents in your Draft folder have the “include in compile” checkmark selected. If not, then you could easily be missing an entire scene’s worth of words.