Hey, Where Did My Word Count Go?

I’ve been exploring Scrivener as much as actually writing in it over the last couple of weeks, and sometimes I find myself floundering around without the slightest idea of where I am or how I got there.  The other night I was playing with the cork board view, trying to see if I could get more than one chapter’s worth of synopsis cards on the board at once.  At this point I only have two chapters, covering five and a half scenes and three additional cards, in my Scrivener project, but that’s a start.

After some thrashing around, clicking here and there, and, I think, linking documents together, I got all the cards in view, moved a couple of them just to see that I could, and put them all back in their original order.  Then I went on to some other task, leaving Scrivener reduced to an icon on the bar.

When I opened the file the next evening, I was horrified to see that my Project Targets widget showed no words at all on the Manuscript Target bar (the target, 80,000 words, was still there).  Where did they go?  I knew there were nearly 6,000 words in those five and a half scenes.   I knew I hadn’t deleted anything, but I clicked on various documents to be sure, and of course they were all there.  But where was my word count?

I couldn’t find an answer in the tutorial, or the manual, or even in Scrivener for Dummies.  Apparently I’d done something so silly that no one had bothered to explain it.  I moved a few things around, managed to create a couple of empty chapter-level folders, and–oh, dear–now a couple of my scenes were missing, too.

Misplaced, I told myself.  Not gone, you’ve just misplaced them.

I looked at the tutorial again–an excellent resource–and paid particular attention to how the documents were arranged in the binder.  That’s when I realized what I had done, probably while fooling around with the cork board–I’d bumped all the documents up a level or two, so that they were no longer inside the Manuscript folder.  The “Move To” pop-up menu worked better than Drag-and-Drop for this, and once I had everything back in place, neatly lined up within the Manuscript folder, my word count reappeared and all was right with the file.

There’s a lot to explore in Scrivener, and I’ve barely scratched the surface.  But I’m already hooked.  In fact, I’m thinking of importing an entire manuscript into Scrivener.  I think it will be a lot easier to revise it in Scrivener than in Word.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gwen Hernandez
    Oct 27, 2012 @ 09:51:43

    I’m glad you figured it out, Kay! That actually is in the book, but not addressed as “missing word count” or anything so obvious. 😉

    You can also lose your word count (or some of it) if you have “Documents included in compile only” checked in the Project Targets window and then compile a partial.

    There’s a lot to learn, but I think it’s worth it. Of course I’m biased. Good luck with the revisions. If you use Snapshots you won’t have to worry about losing any of your earlier words. 🙂



    • Kay Hudson
      Oct 27, 2012 @ 10:02:13

      Hey, Gwen! Oh, I’m sure the answer is in there somewhere, but I didn’t know where to look. And it’s probably good to figure stuff like that out for myself. I have yet to try compiling anything–I’m sure that will be an adventure.

      When I first started using computers, thirty years ago or so, every new piece of software or update was an exciting adventure (and usually came with an unreadable 500-page manual). Not so much in the last ten years (the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude has set in), but I really am having fun exploring Scrivener. And I’m actually doing some writing in there, too.



      • Gwen Hernandez
        Oct 27, 2012 @ 10:06:21

        Definitely! I’m always happy when my students figure out the answer to their question before I get to it. Not because I’m lazy (though, there is that…), but because it means they kept looking, and they’re more likely to remember the fix if it happens again.

        Playing around is the best way to learn. But, hey, if you get stuck, you know who to call. 😉



  2. Dwan
    Nov 10, 2015 @ 08:02:41

    I totally just did the same thing. Oh my gosh, you’re my savior!



  3. maggiepercy
    Aug 29, 2016 @ 21:35:23

    Just did the same thing myself, and your blog post saved me a lot of trouble. I have Gwen’s book, and I love it, but I can’t always find what I’m looking for in it.



  4. Shane Mason
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 21:23:26

    Oh god – thank you for this. I have been searching on and off for this answer for the last few months to no avail. Such a simple solution. I can now track where I am.



  5. Samantha A. Cole
    Aug 07, 2017 @ 12:50:39

    Thank you! Just had this problem and your explanation was the only one out of nine URLs that came up that had the solution. Now my project word count is working again.



  6. Sharon Wray
    Aug 08, 2017 @ 17:46:00

    Kay, I just had this same issue and you saved me!!! Thanks so much!!!



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