Sunday, April 21, 2013

CONFERENCE 2013: Ammi-Joan Paquette, "Choose Your Superpower"

When you sit down to write your novel, know this:

Ammi (pron. "Ay-mee")-Joan feels your pain. Besides being an agent with Erin Murphy Literary, she's also a writer (Nowhere Girl, and the upcoming Rules for Ghosting in July).

She offered a list of ways to strengthen your approach to writing your story, such as:

the hook
the voice
the plot
the theme
the character

She is not one to pooh-pooh outlining, and thinks it's a great way to boil down your story, pre-revision, to see where it's heading. Make lists, outline, get out a glass of wine and brainstorm. It's a hands-on, organic process, and ultimately, the agent side of her wants to be transported. She wants to remember and think about a manuscript she's read.

The more you polish and revise, the better! Her advice to those of us with less-than-savory first drafts, or for those of us whose fifth draft is languishing in a drawer in the back of the closet, is to always be writing something new. All the lessons you've learned from your previous project will subconsciously flow into your new material. You'll always be learning and improving upon experience that way.

Revision sounds scary, but she suggests going out on a limb and opening a blank document and starting from scratch to get a fresh take on your first draft. Go on, try it! You never know what will create the kind of creative upheaval in your process and spark that forward motion.

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