…and why you should write one too.
Inspired by three wonderful bloggers and writers (readtolivetowrite, M.A. Ryan and JadeLM) I have decided to write an open letter to Nadia, one of my protagonists from my current WIP. It’s really opened my eyes to her even more and I strongly recommend that all writer’s try this exercise, for the following reasons:
1. You write about them from your personal perspective
Unless you’re a character in your novel (which i doubt you are!), you never write about your protagonist through your eyes. Perhaps you write about them from their own perspective, or that of another character. Either way there’s something really personal about writing this letter from you to them. It truly helps you connect and see them as a real person.
2. You’ll realise what they’ve been through
Of course, you know your character’s story. Where they begin, what happens along the way and where they end up. Therefore it can be easy to let them plod through these situations without stopping to comprehend the full scale of what they’ve been through. Writing one of these letters makes you realise exactly what they’ve had to deal with. I for one will certainly be focusing more on my character’s state of mind, as a result of this writing exercise.
3. You’ll see how much they’ve grown
Writing this made me appreciate how far my character has come since I started developing her in my mind and in my plans. There’s something really affirming about realising you’ve created a truly believable, relatable character who has grown in the way real humans do.
Last but not least, it’s great fun. I’ve written mine below! I’d love to read yours so if you have one already or write one another time please post links in the comments! I’d love to take a look.
Recipient: Nadia Needham
This letter won’t reach you. I put ‘London’ as the address but of course I couldn’t be more specific than that. London is your home, every part of it. You are not tied down, though perhaps, by now, you wish you were. No, this letter will wind up in a Dead Letter Office somewhere, lost to the world just like you.
I should probably apologise for everything you’ve been through. Losing your parents while you were barely an adult yourself was too much, but to have your little brother run away from home shortly after was just cruel. I’m sorry for leaving you all alone.
That’s why I’m so glad you met Felix. You couldn’t ask for a better friend and I know that she’ll always do whatever she can to keep you safe. It wasn’t so much fate that bought you together, but circumstance. She too called the streets her home and battled the long, cold nights alone. Until she met you. You saved her, Nadia, but then of course she saved you as well.
On top of it all, you could probably have done with not finding that body in Battersea Park. I’m sorry for that too. I feel your shock and sadness as ferociously as you do, and that’s the truth. You’ve dealt with it all so well, but I know you’re beginning to crumble and soon the truth will shatter you and everyone you know.
I’ve said so many sorry’s to you already, Nadia. So, I’m not sure how to tell you this but things are going to get so much worse before they get better. You may think I’ve said sorry enough, but it’s what’s to come that I should be truly sorry for.
Stay strong, sweet girl. I am so proud of you, you have become so brave and remained so unselfish despite your troubles.
Thank you for reading!
Have a great weekend and keep writing,