Some background to the Toronto Connections series

People have asked me about this, so I thought I’d do a small post about the writing, rewriting, submission and editing process of the TC books.

Every time I explain to people how I wrote and submitted the four novels in this series, they get super confused. Not sure why: Finding Your Feet was the first written and submitted, with the intention of being the start of the series. I rejigged the book order at my publisher’s request, and I’m glad I did, but it meant the original #3 became #1, #1 became #2, and #2 became #3. I wrote #1 (now #2) first, then #4, then #3 (now #1) then #2 (now #3). I submitted #1 (now #2) first, #3 (now #1), #4, then #2 (now #3). That’s clear enough right? 😛

Here’s a fun table:

Publishing Order Submission Order Writing Order Original Order
Blank Spaces Finding Your Feet Finding Your Feet Finding Your Feet
Finding Your Feet Blank Spaces The Wrong Woman* Growing Pains
Growing Pains The Wrong Woman Blank Spaces Blank Spaces
The Wrong Woman Growing Pains Growing Pains** The Wrong Woman

* I wrote this second, then had to rewrite it completely after finishing Growing Pains. So it’s second and fifth.

** I actually started writing Growing Pains after Finding Your Feet, but abandoned it halfway to edit and submit Finding Your Feet, then didn’t pick it back up until over a year later. I ended up rewriting it almost completely.

This table represents a writing process that started in November 2014 (September 2014 if you include research). The final book will be published 22 May 2017. There was a gap of eight months between submitting FYF for consideration (end of February 2015), starting TWW (October 2015) and signing the contract for the series (Nov 2015). From October 2015 until now (April 2017 at time of writing), it’s been a solid block of work.

Fun times! (Not really, that was sarcasm.) I . . . don’t actually recommend writing and submitting a series this way. I learned a lot from it: the continual writing, rewriting and editing of multiple books helped with continuity and cross-series jokes, and the tight scheduling (and multiple rounds of feedback) really honed my skills as a writer. There were definitely good lessons from the process, and I did have fun moments. I also hit nearly all of the submission deadlines! My publisher was awesome throughout. But it was messy and stressful at times, I burned out, and compromises were made. Which is to be expected, but doesn’t have to happen.

So, life tip from Auntie Cass: if you’re going to write a series, for the love of god, have at least 75% of it written before you pitch it. Seriously. Or negotiate a niiiice loose schedule, because handling multiple books will take longer than expected.

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