Writing Exercise: If I’d known then…

For the December section of his “A Calendar of Tales” project, Neil Gaiman wrote a short story in which a runaway briefly meets her future self.

(The collection of short stories is posted publicly, so you don’t have to feel guilty about reading them. Seriously, I’m in love with this collection.)

So let’s turn this around: If your protagonist could go back ten, fifteen, even twenty years and briefly visit their past self, what would they say? What advice would they give? What would they implore their younger self to change?

What would your antagonist say to their younger self?

What would your characters change about their lives? What warnings would they give? Or would they say anything at all? Tell us in the comments!