Grammar Wednesday: POV–2nd Person

This is the type of person or POV that you will find the least of. It’s also, in my opinion, the hardest to write and the hardest to pull off when writing. People slip into second person when talking all the time and even when writing. It’s like, you know, you do it all the time. See what I did there? I had a professor in college who utterly hated and despised when second person was used unintentionally, and particularly, when it was used in speech. Apparently she corrected her sister on it all time–so glad I’m not her sister.

The most common way you will see second person used is in letters to other people. However, there are stories and novels written in this person.

You walk into the room, floorboards creaking with each step you take, the noise reverberates off the empty walls. You take a deep breath, waiting for the floor to collapse in on itself, or for the ghost to jump out of the closet, or for the world to simply end. It doesn’t happen. You let out the breath you’ve held until it started to burn in your lungs. The rush of hot air out and cold air in sends shivers down your spine, and you shake it off by walking to the window. The night is pitch black, the air is stiff with energy, and you can’t help but spin on your heel when the door slams shut and the lock clicks into place.

This is second person. I don’t know if I pulled it of, or if you can, but give it a shot and check it out. It’s a very interesting way to write a story.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. katemsparkes
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 08:08:22

    I don’t think I could handle a novel written in second-person. It’s too “choose your own adventure,” and it requires the writer to assume too much about me. Odds are that it won’t feel real when I’m told I reacted a certain way to something and it doesn’t line up with the real me. It would take a very skilled author to turn the reader into a character in a meaningful way.

    I did like the second-person sections in The Night Circus. They were really just scene-setting, observations about the circus, a place to throw symbolism in. The “you” never interacted with other characters or reacted to anything, so it worked. The fact that it was scattered, small bits helped, too.

    I haven’t met a short story written this way that I’ve enjoyed, but I’d be open to trying again if anyone had suggestions.

    Reply

    • Adrian
      Jun 12, 2013 @ 08:10:35

      I only have ever read short stories written in 2nd POV. Never a novel. I’m not sure I could handle it in a novel either. Most of what I’ve read in 2nd POV has been fan fiction. So I don’t have any good short stories to share. Sorry.

      Reply

  2. Trackback: Notable News: Week of June 8-14, 2013 | unchained faith

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