Human factor - or: How to get back on our tracks

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Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:33 pm Post

Well, it has been discussed and we believe that backup tools, like Time machine, do the job pretty well.

As a newbie to this program and also as an Aloysius Alzheimer's "friend", I know only so well how to slap my forehead (Homer Simpson style) every so often... well, more often than seldom.

So, when I goof, the marvelous autosave feature will dutifully and diligently save and make permanent forever and after the version that is sick and screwed from my stupid mistake?...
How about before those mistakes?...

I'll elaborate on this.

First, to immediately correct a typo, I have "Edit/Undo".

That's about it.

No multi-level undos (this is SERIOUS in my book of drafts!) and ... what happens when that little black dot inside the red ball is gone?... My last erroneous version has just erradicated my last (wanted but gone) good version???

So........ the questions arise on:

- How can I undo a serious mistake inside the program?... If I commit this mistake hous of labour AFTER I started working, there's no Time Machine or whatever backupo program that's gonna save me.

- I would like to know whether I'm just properly and righteously worried about this, or idf I'm just some jackass who didn't read enough about the subject and in fact I'm covered and just don't yet know how (I'd rather be in the 2nd. option, but...).

How do I recover from serious mistakes (not only typos, bur repeated ops, like changing everything around, deleting stuff in various parts, etc.)?... Do I have to resort to last weeks' backup and lose days of productive and creative work (as creation will flow like the river... it'll be gone then and lost forever)?...

You guessed it, I bought the program, but want to be damn sure before I commit all my work to it.

Thanks to anyone that may care.


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Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:48 pm Post

Do a search for "snapshot" on the forums. I think it is exactly what you are looking for.

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Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:08 pm Post

You might like

It will (compulsively) save what you tell it to save and as often as you like.

Nice interface, too.

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Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:13 pm Post

I think what you're looking at -- what many of us experience -- is an irresolvable dilemma: How can I keep a record of every change so that next week when I suddenly see what's wrong with the 248th draft I can go back and pull out the second paragraph from the 119th and the clever dialogue in the coffee shop from the 67th and the description of rain outside the chapel from I think it was about the 194th but maybe it wasn't but it was around there someplace?

The answer: You can't. Not with Scrivener and not with anything else, except maybe reverting to pen and paper, which will work only if your handwriting is extraordinarily legible, and your insertions/deletions/emendation are psychotically neat, and you use very very very large sheets of paper.

Still: Scrivener does let you save frequently and repeatedly, with backups and with snapshots. You can also -- my own personal neurosis -- make a copy (in the same project) of each file before you work on it. So after you've wrangled and sworn and cut and pasted and typed like crazy only to find the whole thing a shambles, it's quick and easy to go back to square one.

You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

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Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:49 pm Post

What works for me in this situation is a combination of several things:

  • I make a snapshot using Scrivener's Snapshots feature before I make any major changes to an already-written scene.
  • Time Machine is happily making hourly backups of all my Scrivener files to my 2TB Time Capsule, which gives me plenty of space for old versions. (Actually, my spouse backs her MacBook Pro up to the same Time Capsule, so I don't have quite as much space as it might at first appear, but we're still nowhere close to filling the thing yet.)
  • I subscribe to BackBlaze, which makes an independent external backup of my data that will survive even if something happens to my Time Capsule.
  • I have a backup of my writing directory in a git repository, and I "check in" my Scrivener projects at intervals when I reach milestones in my writing.
  • I renamed the Draft folder in my novel's Scrivener project to "First Draft" and will duplicate the whole thing before I start the second draft.

With these measures in place, I don't have a lot of worry about losing days or weeks of work. At worst, I might lose an hour of work if something happens to my Mac right before Time Machine starts working its magic, but I shouldn't lose more than that.
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Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:58 pm Post

Just to clarify something: the auto-save feature does not clear the undo stack. Even after the document is saved, you can still hit undo. This isn't Windows. :)

And, as others have pointed out, Scrivener has a snapshot feature. Just hit cmd-5 whenever you are happy with a version, or just feeling paranoid, and even if you make mistakes you will be able to return to the version of the document as it existed when you hit cmd-5. The snapshots feature is designed for exactly the cases you are worried about.

All the best,

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Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:12 pm Post

Thank you to ALL!...

I am now using the Windows version, which lets you back up everything by just copying... a folder!...

Every day, when I turn on the PC,a batch file copies the folder to another disk via a batch file that runs on start-up.
Every file is named after the original project name + YYMMDDHHSS, so even if I want to do it later, the backups will never be overwritten.

Periodically, I wipe out very old backups, as an housekeeping task.

Whenever I'm about to make radical or extensive changes (always a risk) I simple run the batch (could easily be done by hand, of course) and rename it to: Original Project name YYYYMMDDHHSS Before Insert change name here.scriv

On the Mac, however, I'll be sure to use one or several of the advice tips given above.

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Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:40 pm Post

Visit your Tools->Options->Backup and consider modifying the backup location, and the number to keep. Also make sure the date stamp (Use date in backup file names) is checked. Finally, look at the "Back up with each manual save" option. With that checked, it will create a backup whenever you go to File->Save, or hit CTRL-S.

Finally, you can do a separate backup that doesn't directly impact the automatic backups by using File->Backup->Backup to...

These options are far superior to doing these kinds of backups manually; I highly recommend customizing and using these features instead of your current backup regime, since it's much less error prone.
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