Letters To Myself

Book cover made by Movellas user Lily Anna!

*Completed standalone YA novel approx 57,000 words*

Winner of Nanowrimo 2017!

Seventeen year old Morwenna is struggling as a student in her school's sixth form. On top of that, she has to deal with a creepy house nearby with mysterious visions, her Mum expecting a baby and exploring privately her sexuality and identity. When things get rough at home, she decides to leave and start afresh but at what cost? Written in a mixture of diary entries/letters, poetry and prose, Letter To Myself tracks the life of a young girl over the course of a single year.

Only edited for spelling and grammar mistakes, plotline has not been edited. Suggested readership is 15+.

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Dear Myself,

I actually did something incredible, for once in my life. I won Nanowrimo on the last day of November and finished my novel! How the heck did the month of November fly by? The early starts of getting to placement and then, retreating to the warmth of the bed so early on in the evening. I haven’t really told many others at the College that I did manage to finish a novel. Kind of guessed that this achievement wouldn’t really interest them all that much. The title of my novel has stayed the same from before (There Was A Knock), titles can be so hard to conjure up that I completely understand why so many writers decide not to name their work in progress until it is all edited and complete. I learnt a number of things in the last few weeks just from being a participant and I would love to write them all down here for future reference. Also, whenever I wake up feeling low and need to be reminded that I did good, something for me and something for everyone.

First, I learnt discipline. Not being a morning person at a young age, it can be hard to suddenly adjust that habit and wake up at five every morning. But I had a plan. Waking up my girlfriend sleeping in the next room wasn’t an option, nor her parents sleeping further down the landing, so my alarm was placed underneath my pillow and it was loud enough for me to hear but no-one else. I would always throw on some sort of jumper and then make a beeline for the desk and start to type away. The plan was always to leave my notebook sitting pretty for quick access whenever I needed to write. Michelle was not allowed to look at the majority of the notes I had scribbled in during intense moments of panic but if she was interested, she would come over and briefly stare at the screen and either nod her head or release a little giggle. Meanwhile, first thing in the morning, I would type solidly for a few hours and if anyone on Twitter was online, I would take part in word sprints, timing myself against the clock to see how many words would be added to the overall count of my novel in a short space of time. The most I did in a fifteen minute one was exactly five hundred words which was a nice surprise.

Next, during the commutes with Michelle, I would type any little parts of chapters for the novel if ideas came to me during a traffic jam. She knew I wasn’t being rude, rather keen and curious to stick to the task at hand. It also kept my pacing strong for meeting my daily word targets. Those trackers on the Nanowrimo website looked very scary at first but once time went on, I just got used to it, saying to myself that it wasn’t going to be the end of the world if I did not reach the full fifty thousand words. I didn’t write while I was in class or on placement, that would be rude and cause me to fall behind in my work. Never a good thing. On a few occessions, I did type away under the dinner table but that was only because I didn’t feel the right mood to talk to anyone. The secret dream I craved to block out noise only spurred me on to actually come to terms with the tones of others sitting next to me, chatting away about random matters that didn’t involve me.

I stayed very active online throughout the whole month, at least one hour a day in the evening, I would look at all of the new posts under the Nanowrimo hashtag and see where others were at. Many people on their first attempt, some their second and one person on their eleventh! The ideas I saw reminded me so much about creativity and why it is extremely important in today’s world. Random strangers through the internet would also see my updates and message me support and some even keen to see just exactly what I was working on. My blog still updated with its various review posts and other awkward musings I had at the time of wanting to blog (around seven in the evening) so, I just released lots of words and thoughts from my mind for the online community to see. Out of interest, thinking about getting some graphics designed for my characters and plotline, I did post a message asking if anyone would like to make something. Lo and behold, someone came forward and it was simply beautiful. What they sent were profiles of the main characters, a cover for my book and a quote that liked from one of the extracts I had posted to my blog and made it all fancy with cool typography. Seriously wished that I paid more attention in art class at school! I was in utter awe.

I made sure that time was a key factor, I had a girl I wanted to spend time with and make sure that she didn’t feel left out. But then again, I had to do things for me too. Watching old movies with her every few evenings was the deciding time when I finally realised that she truly did make me believe in joy and radiance, very much in love with her being herself and never changing due to peer pressure and the task of fitting in. We laughed, cried and swore along with all of the fictional characters and storylines from the past that were so iconic and used to love. One such film was Clueless that both of us just found to be the perfect snuggle in with popcorn and hot chocolate kind of movies. Forget the cinema, we stayed home and that was the best thing within itself. Obviously, Michelle doesn’t mind if I randomly start writing in front of her but there were times when actually, she was more important than my novel. A few days ago, I came out of the shower and wrapping myself up in a towel, she came out of her room and just hugged me with that little smile of hers to say that she was proud of me.

With my novel, I will be posting it online for feedback but also, taking on board some new methods and advice for next year’s attempt which I’m very much looking forward to being a part of. But for now, roll on Christmas and New Year’s!

Yours,
Morwenna.

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