i'm going back to the start…

I woke up off-colour yesterday, and felt too sick to do much of anything…so I cranked up Scrivener (at long last) and tried to figure out whether it would work for me.

I'm still undecided. I suspect I erred in attempting to discover how it works while in the middle of a novel, rather than starting fresh. I transferred most of the text of the faerie novel across into a scrivener file, and discovered that Scrivener feels the novel is almost 6,000 words longer than Microsoft Word thinks it is. Interesting… This evening I discovered a second way of counting words in Scrivener,1 which tells me the novel is only 200ish words longer than Microsoft Word's tally. I do not understand yet why Scrivener feels the need to count words in two different realities simultaneously. Or which one I'm supposed to trust.

Either way, I've written basically 50,000 words of the faerie novel so far…and the faeries have only just turned up. That's a whole lotta non-faerie faerie story to start off with there.2

I suspect I'm not going to like the rewrite of this book very much.

But then, that could just be the dreaded muddle talking. Here's hoping, eh?3

  1. using the Project Statistics window, as opposed to the Project Targets window, for those who care []
  2. In my defense, there has been killing while the faeries weren't around. Never let it be said that all my characters survive my stories. []
  3. Now, where did I leave that plot, anyway? []

4 thoughts on “i'm going back to the start…

  1. Hi, thanks for trying out Scrivener. There are a couple of reasons why the word count may vary from Word a little. For instance, what constitutes a "word" can vary from word processor to word processor (as strange as it sounds). Some count hyphenated words separately, some as one word; some accidentally count hyphens between words and so on. All the same, 6,000 words is a bit drastic! However, Project Statistics should give you the most accurate count, as you have discovered, as that generates statistics based on how the manuscript will be printed or exported using Compile Draft, cutting out footnotes, comments and anything else that won't be included. The Project Targets are live so aren't as accurate – they will include any footnotes or comments you have in your work. Drop me a line at support AT literatureandlatte DOT com if you continue to have problems, though. And even if you decide Scrivener isn't for you, I'd still love to hear any feedback you may have. Hope you feel better soon!
    All the best,
    (Scrivener developer)

  2. Hi Keith! It may interest you to know that one of the reasons I switched to a Mac, back in December when my faithful desktop choked on its own motherboard, was so I could use Scrivener, as all my Mac-owning writer friends were taunting me with it. Taunting me! The only reason I waited so long to really try it out is because I didn't want to switch across in the middle of a novel.

    Thanks for the clarification on the way Scrivener counts words. I was figuring the 200ish difference would just be a formatting thing between Scrivener and Word, and really, in a novel, 200 words isn't a significant difference. The 6000ish difference…is probably an artefact of my writing process, which is to litter my manuscript with comments in the margin, since MS Word doesn't count those. 6000 words ia a LOT of comments in the margin šŸ˜³ I'll just go with the Project Statistics figure for now!

    (PS: I promised myself I'd stick to MS Word until the novel was finished, but today's efforts were in Scrivener. I am digging that typewriter scrolling feature!)

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