The Use of Second-Person Narration

Second-person narration: the black sheep of the POV family. You don’t come across it often, but when you do, it certainly leaves an impression. Why is it so elusive, and how can you pull it off in your own writing? That’s what this next tip is all about!

Understanding Second-Person Narration

When we say second-person narration, we’re talking about using “you” as the subject of your sentences. It’s like your reader is the protagonist of your story, and you’re guiding them through the plot. It’s immersive, intimate, and at times, a little too close for comfort.

Why It’s So Rare

Second-person narration is like a jack-in-the-box at a surprise birthday party—you’re not expecting it, and when it pops up, it can be a bit of a shock. It’s challenging to do well, and it can be jarring for readers who are used to being spectators rather than participants in a story.

Using Second-Person Narration

So, you’ve decided to brave the wild frontier of second-person narration? Well, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Make it relatable. Your reader should feel like they could step into the shoes of the protagonist.
  2. Keep it short and sweet. Second-person can get overwhelming quickly, so it might be best for short stories or specific sections of your book.
  3. Justify your choice. Have a good reason for using second-person narration. Don’t do it just because you can.

Example of Second-Person Narration

Personally, I’ve only ever read this particular POV in choose-your-own-adventure books. It can be effective if done right.

“You’re standing in the middle of the room. The light from the single bulb is harsh, illuminating every dust particle in the air. You can feel the weight of the letter in your pocket, a heavy reminder of the choice you have to make.”

Handle With Care

Just like cilantro in your salsa, the second-person narration isn’t for everyone. But if you use it sparingly and with purpose, it can add a unique flavor to your story.