How late is late?

I wouldn’t advise any writer to be late, but stuff happens, and this might be a handy guide to the consequences:

1 month
Book: Publisher not ready anyway
Script: Producer has sacked writer and got someone else to write it

2 months
Book: Publisher has vague presentiment
Script: Producer has forgotten writer’s name

3 months
Book: Publisher asks agent if writer’s OK

4 months
Book: Publisher starts to worry about book, not writer

5 months
Book: Publisher sends writer firm email

6 months
Book: Publisher changes publication date
Script: Production put behind due to rebrief, writer asked to rewrite

7 months
Book: Publisher and agent relax a bit

10 months
Book: Publisher now convinced author has discovered better way of making a living and the agent has either not noticed or is lying that ms on its way
Script: Production put behind due to change in exec; new rewrite

1 year
Book: Publisher demands return of advance
Script: Major cast changed; new rewrite

2 years
Book: Ms might still be welcome to publisher’s successor
Script: Surreal rebrief; new rewrite

5 years
Writer has no career left

10 years
Writer heralded as making triumphant return

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