Second person...

So I have a concept for a new piece (now that I’m done with BJ and Gabby), and I’m kicking around writing it in second person.

Question for the group - how do you feel about second person when major elements of the character “you” are being pressed into don’t necessarily apply to you personally? Does it interfere with your suspension of disbelief? Or, if properly set up, are you able to imagine being this other person as you read?

Re: Second person…

Just don’t.

No, really. Don’t.

Second person is generally a bad idea in anything except how to manuals. It does not make a compelling story for me.

Re: Second person…

Well, that’s a pretty strong opinion. :slight_smile:

Re: Second person…

Could it be a choose your own adventure story?

Re: Second person…

Well, I’ve seen a few stories written in second person. I think in most cases at least, second person is a lot harder to pull off well. The stories in question were written with a specific person in mind, and posted for the wide world to see, rather than targeted to the wide world, as I suspect your story would be.

If you want to try it, I’ll certainly read. I suspect the task of second person may be greater than the potential payoff, unless the payoff is that of the fun and challenge of writing in second person for the wide world to read.

Re: Second person…

Pretty much, but the more I think about it, the more I think second person is ill-suited to the particular story concept. The protagonist (as in so many other stories I write) is something of an anti-hero, making it even LESS likely that they’d willingly suspend disbelief about the history.

Re: Second person…

I wouldn’t mind a second-person piece. I’m sure that whatever you write will be excellent as usual, but I’d like to ask if you have any plans for Panda’s Ashes if I can.

Re: Second person…

I’m working on that in the background right now, trying to sort out the second and third arches.

Re: Second person…

I like CYOA stories, but they’re not really ever what I’d call ‘good writing’. I feel like if you could change any decision in the story without really affecting the tone and the narrative arc of the whole thing, then it’s lacking a sense of unity and completeness I like to have in any writing that’s actually trying to be good.

That said, I have absolutely nothing against second person perspective in general. Go ahead, write about me!

By the way, WBDaddy, what have you written in first person? More importantly, when are you going to resume the Panda’s Ashes? It’s been a pretty long time!

Re: Second person…

I think The Wannabe Hypnotist if a great candidate for a multi-path story.
I can already imagine a number of possibilities in how it plays out.

As for second person. It depends almost entirely on the reader, I think.

Re: Second person…

Uh, the one I just finished was in first person…

More importantly, when are you going to resume the Panda’s Ashes? It’s been a pretty long time!

As I said above, I’m working on that in the background. I thought that once I connected her with the daycare that it’d be all downhill, just minor tweaks to the first draft and I’d be done - except once I got there, I realized the major plot alterations I’d written before that rendered most of that part toast as well…

Re: Second person…

Yeah, I thought it was third for some reason. Should’ve checked before I posted. Live and learn.

Re: Second person…

Yes. CYOA books are okay to be in second person. And howto manuals. With hyperlinks you can really make a CYOA book work well. I am surprised that concept never took off.

Re: Second person…

I despise CYOA, though that’s probably a result of so many bad writers using it as a crutch to slough their way through a plot they haven’t properly developed in advance.

The reason the concept never took off, very simply, is the same reason command-line interfaces died off - people want to be able to do whatever they feel like doing, not just choose between a few set options.

Re: Second person…

I’ve been thinking a bit and I think it would be a great idea.
If certainly like to see it, at least.

As long as you’re convincing (and I’m confident you are) I don’t see any really issue unless you go down a very controversial path.

Then again, the challenge and interest lies in convincing someone to enjoy tendencies that they otherwise may not consider, or even dislike.

Re: Second person…

As I work out the plot, I’m finding myself more and more drawn toward this approach over a standard 1st/3rd.

The only downside is, I had some ideas for incorporating regular doctor’s notes - but “you” wouldn’t see those. I wonder if that would spoil the illusion…

The tricky part is avoiding an info dump to set the scene. It’s a real strong temptation to lead with something like “Imagine yourself…”

Re: Second person…

If you want to write the story like the old choose-your-own-adventure books, maybe you could try writing it like an old-fashioned text adventure (like Zork). Adrift ( http://www.adrift.co/ ) is one of many programs to do this. I suppose this writing style is quite different from regular stories, but it could be an interesting experiment.

Re: Second person…

I don’t. :wink:

Re: Second person…

Well, I have embarked on the piece in the second person after bouncing a test half-chapter off a friend of mine who is a very good writer as well.

Lot more research to do for the particular subject before I can begin unveiling it for the forum.