Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Second-Person Perspective

"You don't know much about her, yet you're trying to find out the most possible. Your thoughts run day and night, wondering about her and if you'll ever see her again. But more importantly, you are curious if she thinks of you. You try to leave hints here and there along the way, though you're not sure if it's obvious enough. And last week when that sleeker accompanied her to the dance, you nearly lost it. Your blood boiled, the hair on your back stood  up, you had to control yourself from not..."

This is the most uncommon perspectives from all of the points of view in writing. Second Person. Second person can be so weird to write, very unfamiliar and almost foreign. It not only seems awkward when writing but can often feel weird when reading this perspective. The author is writing to you and you may feel more than a part of the story, you may feel right there with the character. The writer is writing to you, speaking directly to your face and telling you what's going on. There's a connection through second person, though it needs to be done in the right way in order to make sense or be interesting.

If you choose to write in this perspective it's advised to write what you already know about. It always helps to know your topic but it's even more helpful if you can relate to it. In this type of writing the reader has become the main focus. The only pronoun used is "you". You are riding along with the narrator, being your very own character in the story. It's not an easy point of view to tackle, part of the reason why many avoid this kind of perspective is because it takes an adequate amount of time to master. It's not an easy one that you can simply write out. It takes time. It takes thinking. It takes skills. It takes mastery.

But second person can be done so beautifully. It can be creative and experimental. If the author succeeds and does a great job, a wonderful story can take place, allowing the reader to hop along on a journey. The key is to describe how "you" feel, what "you're" going through, what are "your" struggles, and what goes on daily. The author must know you and must know it's audience in order to succeed because if not, then it can topple.

Second person can fail so easily if the author makes a simple mistake and changes a minor aspect about "you". The reader may then feel out of connection and not in sync with the story/character anymore. Become acquainted with the story and what you as the author are trying to display.

The reader BECOMES the protagonist.

This point of view is more common in nonfiction selections, keeping the one personal and relaxed. I have been writing in second person throughout this entire article. It happens to come across more natural. Second person is best used in a limited way, as a prologue, in certain chapters or passages to heighten suspense, or in a short story.

Again, find your voice. Perhaps you want to tackle this perspective and maybe you'll achieve and find enjoyment when doing it. It's one of the hardest aspects about writing because you need to stay consistent. But I promise, if you're mind it made up, do it!