Scrivener LogoFollowing my upgrade of Scrivener a couple weeks back to 2.3, I came across something odd.  I was typing away on my project and I wanted to know how I was doing, so I opened the Project Targets window, kept typing. Noticed that the Session Target wasn’t moving/increasing the word count. I selected all the text in the scene and saw I had managed about 1200 words. I cut them, Session Target didn’t change (Neither did the Manuscript Target). Pasted them back in, still no change.

Okay – that’s really weird.

I clicked to save the Project and closed Scrivener.  Started it back up again, and none of the work I’d done was there – the scene was blank. Luckily, I had it in the clipboard, so I pasted it back in. The Session Target shot up by 1200 words. I saved the Project again, closed Scrivener, reopened it, and the Project. Everything was still there.

I chalked it up to weirdness and moved on.

A few days later, it happened again.

Sat down to do some writing, flipped the laptop lid open, switched from whatever program I was on to my project.  I wanted to create a new scene, so I typed a couple of words, moved the cursor ahead of them and hit Command K to split the scene and create a new one.  Nothing happened.  Tried again.  Nothing.  I tried typing some more words, inserted the cursor, hit Command K – nothing.  I went into the menu and hit: Document > Split > At Selection.  Nothing.

I thought this was really weird. I moved the cursor into some text I had typed the night before, hit Command K, and it split the scene – but the new text I’d typed below that, vanished.  Again, I opened Project Targets and started typing. The Session Target didn’t budge. (Neither did the Manuscript Target).

I hit save, closed Scrivener. Reopened the Project to find my scene was still split, but the text I’d typed (just a few words) was not there.

Okay – time to report this.  So I went to the Literature & Latte site and submitted a bug report.  They got back to me really fast and said that yes, I’d found a bug.  I also grabbed some information from Console (where you can see what applications are doing on your Mac) and sent that to them.  They have been really cool about the whole thing and want to fix the bug.  Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to recreate the issue.  If you have ever worked with technical support before, you will know that, if they can’t recreate the problem, they can’t really fix it.  That is the first step – recreate the problem.  Even though it happened twice to me, it has to happen to them, too.

So I have tried to be as detailed as possible with them, even going as far as to list all other open applications and things I have done prior to the ‘bug’ bugging me.

Well, it happened again Sunday.  Only it was way more painful this time.

Woke up with the itch to write.  Had some coffee, made some breakfast, then headed downstairs with the laptop.  I tend to not shut the laptop down at night – I just close the lid and let it sleep.  This morning, I opened the lid, switched to Scrivener and started scrolling up in my project.  Some stuff I’d done before was bothering me.  I wanted to adjust a few things, add a bit here and there.  Did this for a while, basically editing several chapters, cutting things that weren’t working, adding other things.  Kept going until I was to the new chapter I needed to write.  Started typing.  Built the scene I wanted, had it flowing well.  Time for a new scene.  Typed the first sentence for that scene, moved the cursor in front of it, hit Command K to split the scene.  The cursor jumped to the end of the project.

I stared.


Scrolled up…  New Chapter was gone.  Scrolled up some more.  Also lost about a third of the other stuff I’d written today.


This is painful.

Really, truly, painful.

I just stared at the screen.  It’s really difficult to describe my feelings at that moment.  Lost?  Depressed?  I took my glasses off and rubbed my eyes.  Stared at the (now blurry) screen.  Put my glasses back on.  Okay, okay – I just have to deal with this.

First, I jumped back onto the Literature & Latte site to update my bug report.  Snagged the Console info for em.  Not sure it will help, but it had to be done.  Still depressed.  Back to Scrivener.  Did a quick compile to RTF just in case.  Hit save.  Tested Command K – seems okay.  Save again.  Close Scrivener.  Stare at the screen.  God dammit!  Reopen Scrivener / Project.  Stare at the screen.

Where was I?  Ugh.  What did I… ah, shit.  I added so much here.  Now it’s gone.  Fuck.  Get a grip, you can recreate this.  Take glasses off, put head on desk.  Fuck.

I walk away.  I type a blog post…



  • Larry Kollar Posted July 30, 2012 9:29 am

    Losing work is unacceptable these days. I use a Folder Action to automatically back up saved Scrivener projects to my Dropbox, but that wouldn’t have helped you here.

    Being old enough to remember when random crashes were a matter of course, I got in the habit of saving whenever I paused. I wonder if that would have done you any good. I work like you do — on a laptop that I usually close/sleep rather than shut down — and I haven’t run into this yet. (Knock on head.) I may just keep stuff in Evernote for a while. Or use Vim, which didn’t lose any work even when I was getting recent random crashes. (Using MultiMarkdown, I wouldn’t have to worry about styling when I return to Scrivener.)

    • Patrick Hester Posted July 30, 2012 6:26 pm

      Like I said, I lost everything in a new chapter I was working on, but I’d also done some editing / rewriting in other areas. A small part of that survived. I don’t know why. I do hit ‘save’ quite a bit as I’m going, but that didn’t seem to help here. It simply didn’t ‘take’ the text, as if it were never written in the first place.

      My work around is going to be simple; I’m going to close Scrivener every night. When I am writing, I’m going to check to make sure the text is being saved. If it’s not, restart the program until it is. I honestly believe it’s tied to leaving projects open all day & night while opening other programs, and somehow to the upgrade to 2.3.

      We’ll see what L&L can come up with as a fix.


  • Paul (@princejvstin) Posted July 30, 2012 12:35 pm

    Aww hell, Patrick.

    I’m sorry, man. And here I thought losing a book review a few weeks ago due to a hiccup on my computer in Word was bad enough. (no, autosave did not save me). You lost far more here. Damn.


    • Patrick Hester Posted July 30, 2012 6:28 pm

      Thanks Paul!


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