Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Scrivener - Important Safety Tip

Okay, just had a bit of a scare. I was tinkering with and re-reading Brass and Steel: Inferno and wanted to see how many words I'd changed, so I clicked on targets, and got 93,000 and some odd. What's the problem, you ask? Inferno is a 118,000 or so word novel. It meant that somewhere a great swath of the novel was just… gone.

Don't panic, I told myself, even though clearly I already was. Check your compile targets and make sure you have the whole novel selected. Er… yes. I did. Okay, NOW go ahead and panic.

Then I happened to notice that some chapters' little icons in the scrivinings list didn't have any text in them. This is how empty chapters are represented. Surely not, I thought, but I clicked on those chapters to make sure the text was there. It was, and as soon as I touched the chapter, Scrivener noticed the text was there and reset the icon accordingly. And my word count jumped. Once I had touched all the empty icons in the list, my wordcount was back to normal.

I was imagining 'sure, one of the agents I was querying will naturally want the full manuscript while I'm figuring out how to recover what's missing, or if I was grossly miscalculating the wordcount before. It always goes that way. It didn't go that way this time.

I'm a little puzzled why this happened, and it doesn't give me warm fuzzies that it did happen, but this file's been through a lot. I have A. Edited the bundle. There was a lot of stuff in there from dropbox syncs gone bad. I had removed them. I have B. Touched the file with scrivener for windows running in Wine on my Linux machine. That failed to work, so I also installed the unsupported Scrivener for Linux on that box, which did.
C. My desktop mac has been showing a little flakiness recently, booting into safe mode rather than normal. The disk checks out, and from the log, I think it's an inexpensive USB hub and constantly switching that hub between the work machine and the play machine. Terrifying moment to think I'd lost a great chunk of the novel and that I wasn't even sure where. Yeah. Better backups in my future, for sure.


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