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2PPOV

Welcome to my Second-person Point of View page! It’s my favourite viewpoint and one that many people (writers and readers) have never heard of and therefore worthy of its own page. Wikipedia explains it thus:

The second-person narrative is a narrative mode in which the protagonist or another main character is referred to by employment of second-person personal pronouns and other kinds of addressing forms, for example the English second-person pronoun “you”.

Example: You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. — Opening lines of Jay McInerney‘s Bright Lights, Big City (1984)

Traditionally, the employment of the second-person form in literary fiction has not been as prevalent as the corresponding first-person and third-person forms, yet second-person narration is, in many languages, a very common technique of several popular and non- or quasi-fictional written genres such as guide books, self-help books, do-it-yourself manuals, interactive fiction, role-playing games, gamebooks such as the Choose Your Own Adventure series, musical lyrics, advertisements and also blogs.

Although not the most common narrative technique in literary fiction, second-person narration has constituted a favoured form of various literary works within, notably, the modern and post-modern tradition. In addition to a significant number of consistent (or nearly consistent) second-person novels and short-stories by, for example, Michel ButorMarguerite DurasCarlos FuentesNathaniel Hawthorne, the technique of narrative second-person address has been widely employed in shorter or longer intermittent chapters or passages of narratives by William FaulknerGünter GrassItalo CalvinoNuruddin FarahJan Kjærstad and many others (cf. the list of second-person narratives below).

I also wrote a blog piece on it back in February called ‘Second-person viewpoint – love it or hate it‘. :)

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I’ve written a lot of it, mainly for my Tuesday Tales page and at least once a week for 5PM Fiction.

I also have a second-person eShort ‘The Dark Side‘ (available free on SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes Bookstore and Kobo (also on Amazon but not yet free!)) which starts like this…

You struggle to breathe as you look down at the cot. You know he won’t be far away. It’s only a matter of time.

Your heart quickens as you hear gravel shifting. A large car – his Daimler. You’ve got it all planned but of course there’s no guarantee… What if…? It’s no good thinking what if? you tell yourself. You only have one chance. To escape. Be free. Alive again. You stand up straight and your hands tighten around the bundle you hold close to your chest. It’s the key to everything. This is what it’s come to, you know he’s here to kill you, take your child, his heir.

You hear the car door slam followed by heavy footsteps, slow and determined – keeping time with the blood pounding in your ears.

The footsteps stop at the front door. You wait to see what he’ll do next. Ringing the bell would be the last thing, the door itself too heavy for even him to break down.

Part of you wonders how he found you so quickly; you’d hoped for later rather than sooner. This is Jessie’s house and only she knows you’re here. Even your mum doesn’t. But the devil has ways of making people talk. Everyone has a weakness. You know that Evan is his, and only getting his son back would bring him here. You hold your breath and listen but the only sound is a clock, ticking away the seconds; a countdown to the inevitable.

If that’s grabbed you do go and continue reading (and I’d love it if you left a comment on whichever ‘store’ you download it from!) and do have a go yourself. It’s not to everyone’s taste but as soon as I learned that second-person existed I was hooked. :)

 

6 responses to “2PPOV

  1. RA Jones

    May 5, 2012 at 8:04 am

    You read it and wonder why it isn’t used more.You know it’s ideally suited for thrillers and mystery, providing ample opportunity for contemplation, and yet you still haven’t used it. What are you scared of? You’re not sure. It’s just that it’s so different and you wonder if you’ll slip up and trip on an “I said”. You realize you’re letting the reader in on your fears and anxieties, but that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Maybe you want to keep them at a distance, or skip from head to head. But secndpopv feels great. You decide to write something, thank this nice lady for bringing it to your attention. And best of all, you know secndpopv sounds like a cheesy Russian spy you can use in one of your stories too. All you need to do is find his first name, Yuri maybe, or Boris…

     
    • morgenbailey

      May 5, 2012 at 8:18 am

      You are class, RA, leaving a comment about second-person in second person. Love it. :)

      Do you write flash fiction? You could write me a second-person flash (<1,000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays. :)

      I'll email you the info.

      M

       
  2. Aoi Me

    May 8, 2012 at 7:16 am

    This suddenly reminded me of a quick high school piece I did in 2nd. I wondered if you might read it. It’s got a couple of typos and the system is down, so I can’t get in to edit it, but I still sort of like it, even though the tendency of all creative personality types is generally to hate their work, particularly the really old stuff. You could even use it for Flash Fiction Fridays, although it’s quite a bit shorter. Thank you very much in advance! http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2999086/1/Beyond_the_Horizon

     
  3. morgenbailey

    May 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Hi Rika. Sorry it’s taken me a while to reply. I’ve been snowed under with emails. I’ll send you a reply directly.

     

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