Why You Should Write In The Second Person

By on July 29, 2016
Why You Should Write In The Second Person - Writer's Life.org

Experimenting with how you write is always a good thing. It is how you find your writing ‘voice.’ It helps you learn what you are comfortable with, what kind of language you enjoy using, what you are good at, and what needs work.

One of the fundamental things you have to decide before even beginning is which perspective to write from. Each has its own merits and difficulties and can completely change how the story is delivered to your audience.

Most novels are written in the first person or third person. However writing from the second person point of view should also be considered.

The point of view in a story is very important; it gives your readers a very specific and considered perspective as they can only see things from the point of view that the story is told from.

Playing around with perspective is a great way to experiment with your book, and here are some reasons why writing in the second person could be for you.

Writing in the second person creates effortless action.

This works particularly well if you also choose to write in the present tense as this combination makes it seem as though the story is the reader's own. Instead of using ‘he did’ or ‘I did,’ using ‘you did’ creates a unique feel. You are addressing the reader directly, creating urgency, and moving the story forwards.

Writing in the second person makes it personal

If you use ‘you’ the reader can’t help but go ‘who, me?’

Calling out to your reader directly makes the story feel very personal. You are drawing them into the story to the point where they almost can’t help but feel as though the experiences, and the emotions are theirs.

Writing in the second tense is like writing a letter to the reader. You create a character but at the same time, they almost immediately blend into the reader's own sense of perspective, so they are at the same time reading the story, but also experiencing it with the character, and with the author too. This creates an intimacy between the author, the character and the reader which cannot be mirrored using the first or third person perspective.

Writing in the second person is unusual and engaging

Most readers won’t expect a book to be written in the second person. It is a relatively unusual way of telling a story, and so, if done well, will create a unique and surprising view which readers can become immediately engaged with.

Of course, if you are not used to writing from a second person point of view it can be challenging at first, but if you can it offers a new and exciting perspective for both your readers and yourself as a writer too!

So, next time you begin writing a story, why not consider the second person perspective? Let us know how you get on!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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