Compile hanging on full manuscript

I have a manuscript that’s about 50,000 words, plus about 700 footnotes that add another few thousand words. It’s divided into four chapters. If I compile each chapter separately, it takes a reasonable amount of time (say 5-30 seconds), but if I compile all of them together, the process never finishes. This is true no matter whether I compile them as a complete draft or group them together in a folder and just compile that folder.

I’m compiling to ODT, and what happens is that the progress bar zips right along but then takes forever at the “converting file format…” stage (I’ve waited at least an hour while doing other things). Of course, my first thought was that the ODT converter was choking, but the same thing happens if I compile to RTF (although then it doesn’t say it’s converting the file format).

I’d like to avoid the hassle of compiling each chapter separately and then merging them after the fact. I’ve searched here and on Reddit, but haven’t found any answers, and I’ve never encountered this problem before in about 15 years of using Scrivener.

I don’t have an answer, but intriguing problem!

First thing I would do is use the Zap Gremlins function on each chapter — for good measure, to eliminate any possible illicit invisible characters (which may creep in from pasted material).

The next thing I would do is interrogate the Separators section of the compile format you are using. This is a source of added characters that would not kick in until you were compiling multiple chapters. What you are looking for is a bad character that could make the ODT conversion choke. I would just select all, delete and retype any active Separator fields there to make sure there were no characters in those fields that I didn’t know about. (How an illicit char would get there, I am sure I don’t know.)

I have the same issue with a larger project. Would Zap Gremlins affect returns and tabs in a document in a project?

No. Returns and tabs are not gremlins. -gr

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Those solutions fix the problem (just the separators one, I think), but only if I don’t change the default separators to insert page breaks. After struggling with it for a while, I’ve given up and resorted to manually inserting page breaks. Other section types with page breaks do work, so I don’t know what the issue is, unless it’s because those include titles.

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Well, good you can get on with it anyway. That’s the important thing I guess.

But if you do go back to it and figure something out, would love to know what caused the snafu.