You wring your hands, knowing what you’re about to say isn’t necessarily a popular opinion, but it needs to be said. You take a deep breath, then let it out. Here goes nothing. “Fine,” you squeak, “I’ll admit it. I love second-person point of view.”
Sorry, as cheesy (and dramatic) as that might have been, I couldn’t help it.
I feel like second person POV gets looked over a lot. Sure, it’s not necessarily popular in novels, and I get that. It would be hard to sustain a reader’s attention using second person for that length of time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable.
I’ve loved second person point of view ever since my Forms of Fiction class with Dr. John Vanderslice (hey, Dr. V!). It was the first story we were to turn in and I wound up writing in stream-of-consciousness about a girl’s uncertainty as she’s getting proposed to.
When I started this story, it was automatically in second person. I didn’t even have to think about it. It just made sense. Throughout the piece, the girl is talking to herself, so naturally, I used the “you” pronoun (at least, that’s the pronoun I use when I talk to myself).
But then, I did start to think about it. Okay, worry would be a more accurate description. I started wonder if second person was allowed. This was back before I realized there are no “rules” to writing. So, I did what any perfectionistic college student would do. I rewrote it.
Or, edited it, I guess.
So, I now had two copies of the story. One in second person and one in first person. Personally, I liked the second person story better, but I wanted to get it right.
After much debate, and second (and third) opinions, I decided to turn in the second person version. And I’m so glad I did.
I know that first person POV is intimate, but, to me, so is second person. There’s something so private about getting into someone’s personal thoughts (as my story did), or taking the reader on a firsthand journey.
Not only as a reader, do I feel a different connection, but as a writer I do as well. It’s easier for me to connect with my characters when they’re in second person POV. In first and third, I can connect, but there’s always a little of a disconnect; I don’t usually cry when my characters do, or when a character I love dies.
In second person, I become that character.
Maybe that’s why I love it. Or maybe it’s the simple reason that I don’t see it as often. Whatever it is, second person POV holds a special place in my writing heart.
Until next time,