1. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    The Voice of the 2nd Person: A Question.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Darkkin, Jul 2, 2012.

    How many people actually write in second person voice? The vast majority of everything I read is either first or third person. Does anyone know any examples of good second person narratives?

    Thanks,

    - Darkkin
     
  2. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Absalom, Absalom! by Faulkner is a good example. 2nd person is a weird format and difficult because of its removal from the story itself.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    They exist, but their scarcity should be an indication to stay away from it. You will find far more atrocious examples.

    Don't be different for the sake of being different.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    amen to that!
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The Haunted Mind by Hawthorne is really the only time I can think of when second person was even helpful to the story, and even then, it's debatable if it was necessary. Most of the time a second person perspective leads to problems big problems, like with Italio Calvino's If on a winters night a traveler.... Now I really like Calvino, but that is (I think) his worst novel.
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only times I can think of where 2d POV is functional would be in RPG or You-Finish-The-Story type stories. Other than that, I can only echo what Cogito already said.
     
  7. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    I don't intend to write anything in second person, I almost always write and read third. I will read first person, but it isn't one of my favorites. The reason I asked was more out of curiosity than anything else. I can't remember ever reading anything in second person voice and thought maybe to keep my perspective rounded off, I should. Thank you.

    - Darkkin
     
  8. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's why I wrote my first 1st person POV story. It was quite an experience and a lot of fun to write. Much to my surprise, it turned out really good, too. Since I don't write RPGs, I can't imagine how I could utilize 2d person POV, though. ;o)
     
  9. lasm
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    lasm Member

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    I'm using 2nd person as kind of a framing device in first and last chapter because I want to establish a sense of the relationship between the narrator and the MC, give an idea of the narrator's motivation for telling the story. I think it works, hope it works. I know people are down on it, guess we'll see.
     
  10. Subology
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    Subology New Member

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    The only example I can think of in 2nd person (present tense to boot) is the middle section of Invisible by Paul Auster. It's quite interesting, but rather tiresome. I'm a sucker for 1st person, but I'd take either 1st or 3rd over 2nd. I think it can have a dramatic effect if used sparingly. The trick, I guess, is to find an organic way of briefly using a different perspective, and fitting it in with the rest of the narrative.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Second person does have a solid place in "how-to" books. In fiction, it usually sucks.
     
  12. lasm
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    lasm Member

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    Googling around a bit, I noticed Wikipedia has a pretty good, long list of books that use 2nd person POV to some extent, since the OP was looking for examples.

    It's entirely possible my usage sucks, but everyone thinks their own baby is cute. I'll try to face the ugly truth (if ugly it proves to be) when I've got the first draft done.
     
  13. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    Sci-fi usually sucks.

    High Fantasy usually sucks.

    Third Person Limited usually sucks.

    Ad nauseum.
     
  14. MickiMahoney
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    MickiMahoney New Member

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    "Bright Lights, Big City" by Jay McInerney, (although I could have sworn it was by Brett Easton Ellis,) used 2nd person to relatively good effect. To be completely honest, I stopped noticing the unusual POV after only a few pages and just got into the story, as usual. Added a sort of conspiratorial tone to the narrative, at times.
     

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