Second Person

This is the last of the ‘Point of View’ series. We’ve discussed first person and third person, both limited and omniscient. Now, we’re on to the wild, wacky and experimental second person.

Second person attempts to incorporate the reader into the story through the use of ‘you’ — as if the reader were guiding the action. Possibly, the most familiar series written in second person are the Adventures of You series and the Choose Your Own Adventure books of our childhood. Remember the books that allowed you to decide where to go at the end of each page or chapter?

However, second person isn’t limited to interactive children’s books. There are adult novels written in the second person as well, such as Tom Robbins’ Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas.

When done carefully and with precision, a second person narration can be interesting and unique. But, be warned. If attention to detail, a well structured story, and a fast-paced plot are not part of the agenda then second person can seem amateurish and unnecessary. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a try and see how it works with your piece — just be prepared to get some interesting feedback from your readers.

POV: First Person
POV: Third Person Limited
POV: Third Person Omniscient

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