Advice From A Pro


“Write from a place of passion” –Ammi-Joan Paquette

The first speaker in the Author-To-Author series didn’t disappoint. Ammi-Joan Paquette relayed her experience as a writer and as a literary agent and made some in the audience wonder how she manages to do it all.

Even with several books to her credit, from picture books such as The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies and Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo to her Princess Juniper middle grade series, she told of a book that she worked tirelessly on that just didn’t work out. Instead of giving up on the concept altogether, she wrote a different book with the same ghostly theme and the outcome was her picture book, Ghost in the House.

As a literary agent, Ammi-Joan gave a list of five points she looks for in a submission:

  1. Voice
  2. Fluidity in the writing and storyline
  3. Hook that holds the reader
  4. Uniqueness
  5. Cohesion: how the story comes together

She wants to see tightly written plots that surprise the reader and advises writers to read a lot to “fill your mind with beautiful language.” (Please note that Ammi-Joan is currently closed to submissions except for those from authors she has met at conferences or at events such as our Author-To-Author series.)

As for trends, she named stories with diversity, the entire genre of middle grade, and speculated that sci-fi may be making a comeback. But the best way to find your own unique voice, she said, is to “write from a place of passion.”

Next up in the Author-To-Author series will be Paul Durham, a former attorney turned fulltime middle grade author, on Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30 pm in the Levenson Room of the Portsmouth Public Library (175 Parrott Ave, Portsmouth NH.)

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