The Assumptions of 2nd Person POV

I have a lot of trouble connecting with work written in second person. I have a lot of trouble with “you are…” statements in general written by people who don’t know me. Especially if it says something evocative of coyness, glancing up from under long lashes while you brush your hair behind one ear — you always were beautiful.

Vomit.

For me, hearing “you” gets too tangled in my own sense of self, and the urge to get defensive or fling the book across the room for being presumptuous is too strong. It throws me out of the story, and there’s nothing worse, while reading, than remembering you’re reading. It ruins the escapism.

One way to use this successfully is when the object of the “you are…” is clearly established within the scope of the story. The most successful example of which is “Read This Quickly, For You Will Only Have a Moment…” by Stephen Case.

I am marking it here so I don’t lose the link again.

Head over to Beneath Ceaseless Skies to listen to it. It’s an old one from 2011, but it sticks in my memory.

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