A week ago I discussed writing in first person. As I said, the rules are there to be manipulated and this week I’d like to discuss second person. There is a trend towards using second person in parts of a story, but only you will know if that works for your story.
It is not for the faint of heart, the sissies, the doubters, the haters. It is there for those who don’t ask questions, who don’t doubt, who are either literary geniuses or blissfully ignorant. If you get it right, it is beautiful. If you get it wrong: hugs all round.
Can you see what second person does?
It creates an intrusive intimacy. There is a closeness with your reader that is, well, shudder-inducing. It reels you in and then it climbs inside. Some say first person is the closest you get. But, for me, second person takes it a step further or should that be closer? I can distance myself from first person; that ME isn’t me. But, when the YOU is used, it is almost too close.
This has a vice-versa effect. It is also easier to distance yourself. Weird, right? You won’t feel connected to what is happening because you might not be able to relate to the scenario. Remember what I said about literary genius?
It can be confusing. You also run the risk of confusing your reader and it can become exhausting and feel relentless. Many people simply don’t like it. I enjoy it. I like getting freaked out, but only for a little while.
If you want to experiment, try a prompt in a viewpoint you aren’t comfortable with. Write the same scene in first, second, and third person. It’s amazing how the focus changes with each viewpoint.