Hi there… I have used several “Writer’s programs” over the years, including most of the ones featured on your site (ie: Jers, Avenir, Writeway, etc…) While I have enoyed all of them, the feature that won me over to Scrivener was the cork board view. This is fantastic, and is somethign I have always wished would exist as a stand along program. To have it as a feature of such a great program is the icing onthe cake!

There is only one feature I miss… an overal Draft word count. Avenir has a feature I really like… it has both an overall word count, and a “This session” word count. You can even set an alarm to ping when you reach your goal for the session… Could you please consider putting a feature like this in scrivener? THanks, and good luck with your fantastic software… I suspect I will soon be writign my first novel on it!

As for getting a word count of your draft, have a look at the FAQ. There is an article titled “What is the best way to get an accurate word count of just publishable text?”, which might be of some use to you.

Session counts, and progress meters were something that Scrivener Gold included, but have been dropped from Scrivener for design reasons.

Since this is my first post, let me start by saying that Scrivener is an amazing piece of software, the only program I’ve found that could honestly replace Word as my main writing tool.

That said, I’m going to cast my vote with mediapig regarding a word count meter with notifier. It would be a godsend, and would, quite frankly, put Scrivener over the top as The Most Perfect Writing Application Ever.

As a MFA writing student, I know hundreds of people who use daily word count goals - indeed, most major publishing writers suggest folks write this way - but the problem is you have to keep looking at the numbers to know when you hit it - a distraction to say the least.

This would especially be helpful in the full screen mode (which is the best part of Scrivener IMHO) where the word count is hidden with the bottom toolbar (thus giving even more distracting work to us word counters).

As mediapig points out, Avenir has the feature, but it has little else that conforms to my writing style the way Scrivener does. Especially full screen, which is sorely lacking by comparison.

I understand the feature set for 1.0 is frozen, but I hope some way can be found to impliment this in a future release that is simple and reliable (i.e. not buggy… I think I read a post somewhere about that being the reason word count meters were originally pulled… I could be wrong…)

Trust me, there would be a lot of people who would use it.

I understand the importance of word counts for journalistic pieces, since they must fit into an amount of designed space in a publication. But for longer projects, it seems odd to think of word-count as a daily work quota.

And to add an alarm to the process, that becomes awfully Pavlovian…I love software, but it shouldn’t replace basic self-discipline and an occasional glance at the word-meter.

In my 40 years as a publishing writer, I have yet to know “hundreds of people” who use daily word-count goals. Maybe we need a hyperbole meter? A simile notifier? A metaphor index?

Hi Howarth,

Probably the simplest example (and a person we both would know) would be Stephen King, who suggests to write 1000-2000 words per day.

Another, larger example would be pretty much anybody who ever took part in NaNoWriMo and looked to meet their 1667 per day goal.

Clearly this is a function that not everyone needs - for example, I know some who write for a set time and could care less for word count. Good for them, at least they’re writing. I won’t knock their process (or yours) or call it “Pavlovian” because everyone has a different set of rules their mind works by when writing. (And because writing for a set time is, in the end, no different than writing to a word count. Either way, the buzzer will sound when the goal is met.)

This was only meant as a suggestion, an optional setting that I think would help make Scrivener more appealing to folks who do use word counts. Those who don’t, well, they could simply ignore the feature, as I’m sure I will ignore MultiMarkdown. It doesn’t hurt me that MM is there, and I don’t think it would hurt you if a word count meter was there.

The person it would hurt is Keith, because he’d have to figure out how to get it in there! :wink: And really, putting a word count meter in the program is not THAT big of a deal, because with it or without it, Scrivener will still kick butt.

And ding just like that, my words are up.

I agree with Howarth. Scrivener is a tool for writing, not for processing words. Daily word count strikes me as a false measure of success or even of work done. Most writers would benefit more from a count of the words they cut, rather than the ones they added. Sheer volume is meaningless except as a gauge of bloat. And this is as true of software as it is of writing. This is one feature most serious writers I know wouldn’t want, much less need.

I don’t for a moment question your right to make a feature request, but don’t expect users to support it just because it’s optional. Keith is trying to keep the bloat out and imho this idea --this work method-- is just plain silly and could only be helpful to people who don’t actually like to write in the first place.

Why should anyone feel good for adding x number of words a day to the universe?


Fair enough. My request is in.

Eiron, I must respectfully disagree with both your position and your tone.

Word count is an admirable goal when slamming out a first draft. It’s an easy measurement that helps with setting minimal per-day work that must get done when you’re not in the “zone”. Once the first draft is done, cutting is absolutely essential, I agree, but the words have to be put down before they can be considered and cut as necessary.

That said, I’m not asking for the little “ding” because I don’t want something telling me to stop writing. I’d rather check my wordcount in a natural pause and chance having gone over my minimum :slight_smile:

Thanks for disagreeing respectfully with my admittedly cranky tone, but I really don’t see how the number of words is a gauge of anything beyond typing skill. Any serious writer can put words down on paper; for me a great day may come from just a few good lines of dialogue. Quality is everything, in zone or out.
There may be something to be said for occasionally spitting out sheer volume to grease the gears, but it’s at best an occasional exercise and at worst a very sloppy, even masturbatory, habit.
How can your mind learn to write well if it spends its days trying to write quickly? The process you espouse seems to be based on cranking words out and editing later – which is inevitable I suppose – but should we be actively encouraging ourselves to merely crank out more rather than better? That’s the kind of thinking that leads to bloat, obesity and breast implants.

Keith is managing to create what may be the first serious creative writer’s software that actually works. Again in my most humble opinion, adding such a feature would amount to proposing that producing x number of words a day is somehow a worthwhile goal, and that would be doing all writers, and especially inexperienced ones, a disservice. I trust that Keith will go on giving us tools that prompt us to write better, not merely more.

Welcome to the forum jt3 and I’ll try my best to be less cranky next time.

Respectfully in turn,


In the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?” Seriously, folks, what’s the problem with being tolerant of how different writers work? Word counts, no word counts, if you don’t like 'em, don’t use 'em! I don’t think the request at all unusual. I myself pay zero attention to word count, mostly because I have never had the need. But if someone wants to request word counts and alarms, etc., that doesn’t make them less the writer for doing so. Just my humble opinion. :slight_smile:



Who said we weren’t? I’m not mad at anyone. There’s an idea here - a meme even - that I’m trying to counter. That’s all. If someone wants to tell me why I should frak off, I’ll be very glad to listen. I’ve already admitted my tone can be cranky - must I be mealymouthed as well? This constant need to be nicey nicey in one’s opinions strikes me as an oppressive overreaction to the genuine abuse one often finds on the net. But we’re all supposed to be writers here: why not allow some liberty of tone? I’m not attacking individuals, merely the ideas they may be channeling (from Stephen King no less!)

Nothing. Nada. No problem. What’s the problem with forcefully expressing a contrary opinion? I’m not telling anybody how to work. And I certainly don’t expect Keith or anybody else to take my advice. But I am trying to counter this rather prevalent idea - this hard-coded, primitive heuristic - that more is in any way better. This idea - this feeling - is the source of much that is downright awful in the world and needs to be seen for what it is: an easy but ultimately empty way to feel good.

If you don’t like my opinions don’t use ‘em and if it was unusual I probably wouldn’t bother. Sometimes I feel the contrarian need to counter an idea that is popular merely because it is easy. Volume is easy.
There are plenty of features in Scrivener i probably won’t use, but I’m glad they’re there. Yet I happen to think this particular feature is bloat. Keith has set up this board to hear and share opinions and he alone will decide its value; but he might find it useful to hear that at least one of us hates it. Do I not have a right to think it’s crap? Or should I merely not say that it’s crap. Must I add smiley faces?

jou. Of course writing a lot can be fun, it may even be essential on occasion. But it’s a silly, dangerous daily goal is what I’m saying; and establishing that as a feature in Scrivener would lend weight to that silliness. I can just imagine the novice writer who feels she has had a good day - who gets her little pavlovian reward - after writing 10000 words of utter rubbish, and somehow feels inadequate and cheated when she writes merely one beautiful sentence. Will this help her improve as a writer? I doubt it. Will her mind ever learn to seek and find the right word, sentence or idea the first time round - during actual composition? Or will she forever be doomed to doing her best writing almost by accident or during the editing process?
A creative mind is a fragile thing and notoriously prone to acquiring bad habits. It is my opinion i [/i]that Scrivener should avoid supporting, perhaps creating, an addiction to volume.
Focusing on writing fast may — like Nanowrimo— be a useful, fun exercise. But I don’t believe genuinely first rate writing can reliably come of it. At best one ends up in a room packed with darlings to murder.

Nice arguing with you and a fine day to all,


Heh heh, well, I’m going to make no comments on anybody’s tone because we all know that I can post cranky replies from time to time - though one of my New Year’s resolutions is to try not to :slight_smile: . So, as for the daily word count target:

Ironically, another of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to write 2,000 words a day, as Stephen King suggests in On Writing. :slight_smile: (Note to self: must use less smileys; I am sure Kurt Vonngegut would frown upon them much as he does on semi-colons - d’oh!) In The Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook this year there is an article by Andrew Davies (who scripted the memorable adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Tom Jones for the BBC). In it, he says that he is currently waiting for inspiration for one piece of work he is working on, but he will probably end up writing it the “traditional way”: write it badly and then go back and edit. I liked that.

So, digressions aside, as for the proposed meter: it’s not that I think it’s a bad idea per se, nor am I saying that it will never make it back into Scrivener. However, it won’t make it into 1.0, and if I do every put it back in it has to be really good, not just a hodge-podge like the one in SG. I would need to find a really cool way of implementing it, and that takes some thought. There are various conceptual issues. The first problem is that it has to work across documents. That is, when Scrivener opens, it would have to take a note of the current word count and then keep track of every word that was added during the session. This is actually quite expensive, technically. The next problem is, does the word count of imported documents count, or does Scrivener have to distinguish this? So, this would take quite a lot of work to get it right, and it is something I don’t want to think of at the moment. Let’s see how many users want this in the future and also if a really good implementation idea strikes me…


I’m glad word count is back on the agenda, even if not yet.
Add my vote for it.
Thanks again for a great program.

This only sounds like I’m contradicting myself: I too believe that writing badly and then editing is useful, even necessary. When inspiration and talent flag, iteration is a terrific strategy. And obviously I see the current word count fuctions as very useful for journalists and such.

But iteration does not imply word count for the sake of word count. I’ve rewritten scenes from scratch twenty times when I’ve had to: sometimes quite quickly, with widely varying lengths. Frackin word count certainly wasn’t one of the criteria I was judging them by.

In the distant future (scriv 2.0?) I wouldn’t mind seeing a per-document rating system as metadata in scrivener, with perhaps an average for the whole draft. That would allow us to use our own criteria for success.



Oddly enough one of my New Year’s resolutions is finding a way to frankly communicate on the net without unnecessarily stepping on too many toes…I probably won’t stick to the exercise routine either.

But then we would be missing much of informative value, not to mention entertainment. I always enjoy your remarks, Eiron, even when we disagree. (As we have now and then on the Devon forum)

I started this tiff by objecting to word-count, and especially to an alarm, but I meant no disrespect of other writers’ methods or preferences, since how we write is as various as our psyches. And our tastes, as well: Stephen King is not one of my role models, yet he may be for others. (Who don’t care how much he rips off Poe and Hugo…) :wink:

But Eiron’s point about quality-over-quantity goes to the heart of writing and the use of IT: tools can help me only so far and they should not obstruct imagination, insight, illogic, dreams, and all the other brainware that makes for creative work. Often, the task of writing is prosaic and an outliner or word-counter is an invaluable aid. But if the goal is a play, story, or novel, then my best friends are luck and also the waste basket.

I have to admit that I am not a big Stephen King fan, either. The only thing I have ever read by him is On Writing - which is brilliant and very inspirational. Not that it got me to finish The Novel, mind…

Oh, I have no intentions of arguing. I just felt the need to insert myself into a discussion that I actually have no real stake in. :slight_smile: I guess I just object to intolerance or someone asserting their own preferences or opinions as the way it ‘should’ be for everyone, which of course we all do (except for me–I never do that! :slight_smile: ).

So, I made my objection, and I can check that one off the list. Argue away… :slight_smile:


Thanks for the kind words, Howarth. I too have enjoyed our occasional bouts. It’s good to be reassured that it’s not the end of the world to be a bit of an ass, and in return I try not to go too far. In real life I get along best with people who are secure and spunky enough to argue passionately and allow me to do the same. Online that’s a lot harder to pull off since anonimity is reassuring only up to a point: we can never be sure how touchy the receiver is going to be.
In real life a smile, a laugh and a certain reputation can palliate a touch of crankiness. Online it’s too easy to play --and come off as-- a complete jerk. Many smart, kind people tend understandably to err on the side of caution, whereas I seek naturally to push the envelope a bit. I can always take solace in the fact that my opinions are easy to dismiss here and no one has anything to fear for thinking me an ass. In the rehearsal room, on the other hand, the biggest hurt I can feel is someone being afraid of me. Curiously paradoxical, that. Don’t know if any of this makes any sense. Too much volume, I guess.
Keith, I’ve heard widespread praise for “On Writing”, and it’s perhaps not surprising that someone so prolific and successful would have some insight into the writing process. But I just can’t stomach the actual results of his particular process. Another small paradox.

Eiron, I for one would never think you an ass or a jerk! I have very much enjoyed the little peeks you’ve offered into your own writing process. You are right about the anonymity of writing, and the absence of seeing someone’s face when they are talking. I know I’ve definitely fallen into taking something the wrong way where I wouldn’t if I were face-to-face and could hear tone, expressions, etc., and I’ve had my own words taken the wrong way. I too love to argue with great passion, and perhaps as we get to know each other better through these kinds of discussions, it will become easier to do without someone getting a button pushed. :slight_smile: Wise words.