Second Person Narrative

You won’t often find a story written in second person. I chose to write my science fiction novel “Mutants: Uprising” in second person, but usually I write in third person, or first. The author picks a point of view that best serves their story, as you can invoke different feelings and reactions from the reader with each.

First person narrative is what you use when you want your main character to be the narrator of the book. They are personally relating the story to the reader in some fashion, and the author can ONLY tell you what the main character is feeling or seeing.

Example: I ran down the street, my flip-flops slapping the pavement noisily, trying to memorize the license plate before the car drove out of sight. As it turned the corner, tires squealing, I skidded to a stop, gasping for air like a fish. Why don’t I exercise more?! “I only got the first four numbers,” I said, turning to Sarah, who somehow looked fresh as a daisy despite running after me. “Did you do any better?” She shook her head.

Third person narrative will allow you to enter the head of one or MORE characters – third person limited means you are still experiencing the story from the POV of one character, but you can also write in third person omniscient, which means you can reveal the thoughts and feelings of every character whenever you like. Many books, like George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, will use third person limited but ALSO switch characters in every chapter. So for one chapter you are experiencing Main Character 1, and the next you’re switching to Main Character 2, et cetera.

Example: She ran down the street, her flip-flops slapping the pavement noisily, trying to memorize the license plate before the car drove out of sight. As it turned the corner, tires squealing, she skidded to a stop, gasping for air like a fish and bemoaning her fitness level. “I only got the first four numbers,” she said, turning to Sarah, who somehow looked fresh as a daisy despite running after her. “Did you do any better?” Sarah shook her head.

Second person narrative puts the READER in the action. The reader becomes the main character, and the story becomes more immediate and urgent than First or Third person. You will find this POV used most often in Choose Your Own Adventure books. I wrote Mutants: Uprising in second person because I wanted to invoke that feeling of a CYOA book, and let the reader really get involved in the story.

Example: You run down the street, your flip-flops slapping the pavement noisily, trying to memorize the license plate before the car drives out of sight. As it turns the corner, tires squealing, you skid to a stop, gasping for air like a fish and cursing your fitness level. “I only got the first four numbers,” you say to Sarah, who still looks as fresh as a daisy despite running after you. “Did you do any better?” She shakes her head.

I hope this helps you understand the different point of views a little better. 🙂

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One thought on “Second Person Narrative

  1. I’m just discovering your blog! Very nice! I’ll come back to read some of your older posts when I have more time… like after the Nerdist contest! LOL

    How the heck do you manage to do all these things as a working mom!?!? You amaze me, J-H! 🙂

    Like

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