Second-Person Perspective:

Total posts: [10]
1 Mukora5th Feb 2011 07:32:36 PM from a place , Relationship Status: I made a point to burn all of the photographs
Is there any way to write with it without seeming like an asshole, and without it being a Choose Your Own Adventure book? Because I'd really like to experiment with it a bit, but, well, I doubt it would be received well.
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2 SandJosieph5th Feb 2011 07:35:57 PM from Grand Galloping Galaday , Relationship Status: Brony
Bigonkers! is Magic
What do you mean by "Second-Person"?
3 Mukora5th Feb 2011 07:38:46 PM from a place , Relationship Status: I made a point to burn all of the photographs

Basically, referring to the protagonist as "you"

It's generally considered pretentious in traditional literature, from my experience, and that is just something I find sad, as it has potential to be really creative.

edited 5th Feb '11 7:40:09 PM by Mukora

"It's so hard to be humble, knowing how great I am."
4 SandJosieph5th Feb 2011 07:41:14 PM from Grand Galloping Galaday , Relationship Status: Brony
Bigonkers! is Magic
Make it sound like the writing is recounting past events, rather than telling the reader what they are doing this very moment in-story. Such as "After looking through the files, you found the evidence you needed to convict Mr. Badguy" as opposed to "You are now looking through the files and will find the evidence needed to convict Mr. Badguy".
5 Luthen5th Feb 2011 09:02:10 PM from Down Under Burgess , Relationship Status: Playing Cupid
A nice example we looked at in my short fiction class last semester was "Forever Overheard" by David Foster Wallace (and someone's posted it on their blog though it's missing some of the section breaks)).

Second-person is tricky, I'd also recommend easing into it, by describing the protagonist a little - and as indirectly as possible. People are very good at pretending to be someone else, but don't like it when they're just told to do it.
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6 66Scorpio5th Feb 2011 11:51:41 PM from Toronto, Canada
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I agree with the above. If you set out the character (persona) through some sort of exposition or introduction, then people would be more likely to go with it. Basically, you write it the same as third or maybe first person but instead of letting the reader get inside your character's head, you get the character to crawl into the reader's head.

A trick that came to mind is a Bourne sort of amnesia scenario. Then what will take talent is to make the character's choices generally so logical and natural, given the clues available, that the reader would tend to agree with the choices. So you can't play genre stupid.
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I saw this one non-fiction book by a parent of a disabled kid that used second-person perspective talking about the kid. You could maybe imitate that, have the Literary Agent Hypothesis be someone recounting the adventures of a person they care about to that person. Especially if it's stuff they wouldn't remember, or would've had a very different perspective on.
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There's a Jodi Picoult book told that way. All of the characters talk quite happily away in first person but they always refer to Willow, the child involved in the plot, as 'you'.
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9 joeyjojo10th Feb 2011 11:18:18 PM from South Sydney: go the bunnies!
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The first couple of chapters of The Frangipani Garden by Barbara Hanrahan is done in second person. It's quite well done.
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The book Blindsight has brief sections that are told in the second person, all prefaced by the phrase "Imagine you are [x]". Example:

... Imagine you are a prisoner of war. You've got to admit you saw it coming. You've been crashing tech and seeding biosols for a solid eighteen months; that's a good run by anyone's standards. Realist saboteurs do not, as a rule, enjoy long careers...

The rest of the book is first person, but those sections are a neat addition.

edited 11th Feb '11 5:50:19 PM by Parakus

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Total posts: 10