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November 5, 2012
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Your opinion on second person perspective?

:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
What do you think of it? Is it a little 'intrusive', does it annoy you? Does it help you step into characters' shoes more easily? Do you find that it works better in present or past tense? When does it work? Is it the best? Is it the worst?

I used to be stubbornly against it, but then I read Homestuck - it works quite well there, in the present tense.

What about you?
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:iconikazon:
ikazon Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012   Writer
You don't like second person because at first it seems as though the text is telling you what you think, what you feel. But then you look down at your hands, down at the book being cradled in your fingers, and you recognize that second person narrative is just another form of suspension of disbelief. If you let yourself realize that the narrator is not you, but is actually you, then you can enjoy the story without any preconceived notion of what you would and wouldn't do in the situation. Once you get there, you cease struggling with the idea that you did whatever the book tells you that you did, and instead look into the story that unfolds because of what you did.

To get past all of that second person nonsense, I would recommend reading Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City. Best use of second person I've read. Someone else mentioned Calvo's If on a winter's night, a traveler already, but while it's an interesting story it's quite experimental, which means that sometimes the issues you may encounter while reading actually have nothing to do with the second person itself and everything to do with the fact that it's just off the wall compared to standard prose, heh.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012
wow! that really puts it into a different light :o
thanks for the recs (:
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:icontiganusi:
tiganusi Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Professional
^ And if you smoke about an ounce of pot and stare at your hands while holding this comment printed out, it makes more sense.
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:iconikazon:
ikazon Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012   Writer
I give you a hamburger.
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:iconikazon:
ikazon Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012   Writer
*Calvino, not Calvo. I got the writer mixed up with one of my old professors. :shifty:
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:iconsolaces:
Solaces Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012
Lorrie Moore's "How" is a wonderful example of second-person done right.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012
ooh! thanks!
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:iconml-larson:
ML-Larson Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Professional Writer
No. Second person very rarely works in prose because it eliminates the entire character building part. It's very lazy writing. Why bother creating a character with flaws and believable traits when you can write action and slap 'you' into the narrative?

I never even liked the pick your own adventure books, and as I got older, I began to suspect that the second person narration might have been why.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012
thanks for responding!
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Student Writer
Like ~CrazyAce01, I think Choose Your Own Adventure books are the main place where second person is actually expected. There's no reason you couldn't write those as "If you want Dave to do X, turn to Y," or "What should I do? [Some options follow]," but since you're already getting the reader involved in the plot, you may as well go that final step and make the book about them.

Outside of that particular sort of book, I think it's one of those things that's a bit like a strong spice: best in small amounts, and not at all in most things. Then again, there will be those few things where it's good to have a lot of it. :shrug: I'm not familiar with Homestuck, but in this analogy it might be a bit like a curry: it benefits from having lots of second person spice.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
hmm, that all makes a lot of sense! thanks for replying.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Tbh... I never liked it. It's too intrusive for my tastes.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
i know the feeling ;(
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
There is a limit to how much 2nd person I want to read, no matter how well it is done.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
hmm! fair enough :)
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:icondead-now:
dead-now Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Any perspective can work as long as the intent is aligned to that method. There are simply some perspectives that are easier to accomplish in writing and others that take much more practice and skill. However, if a writer is competent in writing any perspective, then there is no reason that it shouldn't work.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
ah, that's true! anything can work, it's just if /you/ can make it work.
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:icondead-now:
dead-now Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yep. Unfortunately there are just some methods that are extremely difficult to pull off.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
:nod:
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:icondead-now:
dead-now Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yep. Unfortunately there are just some methods that are extremely difficult to pull off.
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:iconmagpiemcgiggles:
MagpieMcGiggles Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I write everything in second or third, but due to my style of writing I've been told to write in first person. The only thing is, it bleeds into my perception of reality away from the blinking cursor. It really depends on how you write. I place a lot of emphasis on description which suits first person. If you are less image conscious then second or third omniscient would work best.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
oh right, that's interesting!
hey, why do you think the less image conscious thing works best with 2nd and 3rd person? just out of interest, i think youve hit something mega important there.
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:iconmagpiemcgiggles:
MagpieMcGiggles Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
2 or 3 person requires the reader to become an active part of the story. Their imagination fuels the reader's perception. When reading from first person the reader must submit to the character's understanding of the world around them.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
ahhh that makes a lot of sense, cheers
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:iconbornwiththesun:
BornWithTheSun Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I dislike second person most of the time, but there are cases where it can be used well. It works pretty well in some games and stories where the story is being told to the main character. Second person also works pretty well for descriptions, but in high-emotion situations or tough decisions, it gets complicated. Readers don't like being told what to do.

I do have a project on the far back burner that would involve writing a story to instead of about the main character.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
hm! thanks for your input :3
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:iconbornwiththesun:
BornWithTheSun Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Haha yeah! No problem. :)
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:iconbenevolenthellion:
BenevolentHellion Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think second person perspectives are rather difficult to write and very little writers do it to a standard that engages me, or I might just dislike it totally I'm not sure it's not a writing stile that I see very often.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
yeah, that's true...
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
It seems to occur a fair amount in poetry, but in fiction far less and usually not successfully. I've written maybe one story in 2nd person, and I honestly can't tell you that it worked. I recall that one person critiquing the story advised against it. Probably it's more acceptable in poetry because of certain conceits; we're more willing to accept that the work is addressed to someone who may or may not be us. In a short story, you're more inclined to wonder why, and sustaining that over the course of an entire novel must be difficult.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
hmm! oh, that's logical. thanks!
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:icontheresnosuchthing24:
TheresNoSuchThing24 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Hobbyist
I like the second person, I think it engages the reader more, I mean, if someone's talking to you then you listen, in this case you read. It can be hard to maintain, but if you do it right then it comes out really well
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
true that! it's the same with most things - they work if you do them well.
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:iconcrazyace01:
CrazyAce01 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
The only thing I've seen it work well in is 'choose your adventure stories'. There were a couple really good Goosebumps books I read as a kid that were 'choose your adventure'. Lots of fun!
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
ah, there's a point! i think you're right about that.
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012   Writer
i don't like it much like i don't like people thinking they know what God wants and "actually means".
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
well, fair enough!
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012   Writer
i said "like" a lot in that sentence.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
hmm!
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:icondefor:
DeFor Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Student
Un homme qui dort is the only book I've read written in 2nd person, and it was extremely effective. (And my French isn't very good, so that's saying something.) It's one of the best books I've ever read, actually.
But if the content wasn't something I completely related to in every way, then I can imagine I would have found it annoying. Or even if it was just a normal narrative, it wouldn't have worked very well.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
wow, it must have been a smashing piece of work!
oh, i see :)
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:iconthelanyi:
thelanyi Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'm studying "If on a Winters Night a Traveler" in my English class at the moment and while initially the use of second person drew me in, I'm now growing frustrated by it. It just gets too confusing and feels a bit preachy.

That said, I'm a huge fan of the whole "choose your own adventure" format. Using second person can be effective. :)
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
oh, i see! when you study things in class they get terribly irritating after a while anyway :p

yes, yes it can!
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:iconthelanyi:
thelanyi Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
true that! :)
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:iconnephenee:
Nephenee Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
Eh, I'm not fond of it
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
fair enough :)
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:iconwhovian-shitsuji:
Whovian-Shitsuji Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
If done well it can add to a story. I use it on occasion in my short stories, mostly when I'm trying to be humorous. Like many things 2nd person perspective is good if used well and in moderation.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
well said!
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:iconitzala:
Itzala Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
Generally it is a bad idea, it just sounds odd. I have read stories where it worked, but the 'you' was never the reader, it was another character and the story was essentially addressed to that character. The only story I remember off the top of my head where it worked is "We didn't" by Stuart Dybek. I don't really do interactive books but I imagine it works better there because the reader has actually done something so it doesn't seem so presumptuous.
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:iconava-ire:
ava-ire Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
i know what you mean, there's always that feeling of "i am not this person"
hmm! i see what you mean. what about in games, how do you feel about second person then?
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