Book Cover of The Good SonCarolyn Mills (BA '00) spends her days in the classroom, teaching  grade seven. But she's also an award-winning writer and author of two books. Her picture book, The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain, was published in 2017. And as of March 2021, you can find her debut novel, The Good Son, on library and store bookshelves.

If you're an aspiring author, or just love reading fiction, watch the video for insights about Carolyn's writing process, honing your craft and catching a publisher's attention. Plus, keep scrolling for Carolyn's 10 tips for aspiring novelists and her favourite books on writing.

Carolyn's 10 tips for aspiring writers

  1. Make time to write (commit to it, prioritize it, schedule it)
  2. Study the craft (through workshops, books about writing, blogs, classes, podcasts)
  3. Find other writers (Twitter and writing groups can offer motivation, support, advice, information, resources, community)
  4. Set goals
  5. Read!
  6. Put your work out there (through story competitions, workshops, etc.)
  7. Learn about the industry and publishing options (i.e. The Writers Union of Canada (TWUC))
  8. Celebrate the mini-wins
  9. Write the bad stuff and don't edit yourself as you go
  10. Brace yourself for rejection, then keep going (perseverance, perseverance, perseverance)

Carolyn's top five (okay six) books on writing

  1. Bird by Bird
  2. Save the Cat! 
  3. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  4. Revision and Self-Editing for Publication 
  5. Troubleshooting Your Novel
  6. The Complete Guide to Editing your Fiction