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Old 09-08-2014, 12:42 PM   #1
JLCC
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2nd Person, Limited Omnipotence - pointers

I finally took a plunge to submit and was rejected. Basically, it was style (good or bad) that was the problem, showing up as unattributed internal monologue.

The story was written the female lead as 2nd person, "you". The male lead was telling the story as " I".

The problem came in that there were some first person thoughts conveying feelings, etc. that seemed awkward and less intimate by adding the "she thought".

Example:
Ohmigod! He's really gonna do that!
Vs.
"Ohmigod! He's really gonna do that!," you thought.

1) I discovered that I can use HTML <i></i>
<I>Ohmigod! He's really gonna do that</I>

2) I considered adding some leading spaces to indent.

Any thoughts on how to do that?
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:10 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by JLCC View Post
I finally took a plunge to submit and was rejected. Basically, it was style (good or bad) that was the problem, showing up as unattributed internal monologue.

The story was written the female lead as 2nd person, "you". The male lead was telling the story as " I".

The problem came in that there were some first person thoughts conveying feelings, etc. that seemed awkward and less intimate by adding the "she thought".

Example:
Ohmigod! He's really gonna do that!
Vs.
"Ohmigod! He's really gonna do that!," you thought.

1) I discovered that I can use HTML <i></i>
<I>Ohmigod! He's really gonna do that</I>

2) I considered adding some leading spaces to indent.

Any thoughts on how to do that?
I'm not a fan of the second person POV, so I have no idea.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:23 PM   #3
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Definitely tricky. To me, the problem isn't necessarily in formatting. With second-person, you're guiding a reader through a series of experiences as though they are the ones experiencing it. And while you can tell a person what they're experiencing, you can't tell them what to think. Especially since male lead first person wouldn't know these thoughts (which of course you acknowledge in calling it a limited omniscience viewpoint). To me, it would seem that unattributed thoughts would naturally belong to the first-person lead, and italics wouldn't help that confusion. That said, I'm all for writers trying unconventional things with voice. I've never played around with second-person though.

How do you treat it when you first go into her thoughts? If you can set it up correctly on first use so that it's clear to the reader, then italics would serve to bring the reader back to that original context.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:38 PM   #4
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Sort of the idea of what I was going for was the idea in movies where thoughts are narrated.

What I tried to was include identifying factors in the "thought bubbles".

"*He* makes my panties so wet!"

To add to confusion though, male character also has thought bubbles which I try to manage similarly.

I also am reworking to make the male character third person.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLCC View Post
The story was written the female lead as 2nd person, "you". The male lead was telling the story as " I"
Second person always reads more like an instruction book than a story and can annoy and bore readers real fast. Example: "Grab the man's cock. Take it into the mouth. It will taste of sweat...."

The other reason most writers don't use it outside of writing exercises is that second person P.O.V. doesn't allow you to get into anyone's head at all. If you say, "You think 'oh my god he's really going to do this to me...'" then you've switched to first person. Meaning, it reads as if there's a person there commanding the woman to think this. We're in the first person P.O.V. of the one saying, "You think..."

I'm betting that the best solution is to go first person with both your characters, switching between them (just show a block of action from one's P.O.V. then put down a hatch mark # and space between paragraphs and, staring a new paragraph, show a block of action--or that same action--from the other's P.O.V.). This would allow you inside both their heads easily (or go third person on both and switch when needed). But if you really want to go the way you're going, I'd use the HTML + italics, signaling that you're switching from second to first with the woman.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3113 View Post
Second person always reads more like an instruction book than a story (snip)
Good point. While I personally enjoy the read, as have some IRL friends, looking at it with this in mind makes me more critical.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:00 PM   #7
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Second person POV?

Don't.

It takes real skill to bring off a Second Person POV and even if you make it work many readers would back-click immediately.

1st or 3rd are much easier to do well.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:08 PM   #8
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Alright...
Feedback suggests further rework to third person. Gonna try it.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:11 PM   #9
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I really would encourage you to change the POV...

Using second person, as far as I'm concerned, is for writing directions on how to put your new entertainment center together.

I believe there are two problems with using it in a story. You disenfranchise a lot of you readers.First by gender, then by personality. If the "you" is female, the males can't relate. If the "you" is male, the females can't relate.

Then there's the problem of telling the reader what he/she is doing or going to do. "You stood and watched as your wife made love to another man." There is no way in hell I'd stand and watch my wife like that...

First or third person was developed for writing stories, second person was developed for writing "how to," manuals. In my point of view, never the twain shall meet.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLCC View Post
I finally took a plunge to submit and was rejected. Basically, it was style (good or bad) that was the problem, showing up as unattributed internal monologue.

The story was written the female lead as 2nd person, "you". The male lead was telling the story as " I".

The problem came in that there were some first person thoughts conveying feelings, etc. that seemed awkward and less intimate by adding the "she thought".

Example:
Ohmigod! He's really gonna do that!
Vs.
"Ohmigod! He's really gonna do that!," you thought.

1) I discovered that I can use HTML <i></i>
<I>Ohmigod! He's really gonna do that</I>

2) I considered adding some leading spaces to indent.

Any thoughts on how to do that?
First, I'd agree with others that using "you" is problematic. I hate it myself; I don't like being told what to do, or what I'm doing. I like relating to a character, that's fine, but I don't want to *be* a character.

Second, I don't think this is as difficult as you may be making it. For the "you" character's thoughts, you could have the narrator guess, essentially. Like:

Quote:
I could tell by the look on your face that you wondered if I would really do that.
Then you don't have to worry about italics, indents, etc. Italics are fine for thoughts, a lot of people use them. Indents aren't particularly necessary, and I don't think you can indent unless you use the HTML blockquote tags (I know they work; not sure about using forced spaces).

Also, if the narrator is speaking to someone, that's fine, but the POV for the story is still first person, not second.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:51 PM   #11
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I'll echo the above: don't. 2P works for songs (and I call the pronoun-less tech-manual mode 4P, but others here disagree) but not for narrative prose. Yes, a VERY skilled writer can pull it off, sort of. That's what I've heard, anyway; I haven't read any palatable 2P prose myself.

Yes, you can indent with <blockquote></blockquote>. I haven't tried embedding &nbsp; [non-breaking space character] into LIT text. Maybe I'll try that.
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laptopwriter View Post
Using second person, as far as I'm concerned, is for writing directions on how to put your new entertainment center together.

I believe there are two problems with using it in a story. You disenfranchise a lot of you readers.First by gender, then by personality. If the "you" is female, the males can't relate. If the "you" is male, the females can't relate.

Then there's the problem of telling the reader what he/she is doing or going to do. "You stood and watched as your wife made love to another man." There is no way in hell I'd stand and watch my wife like that...

First or third person was developed for writing stories, second person was developed for writing "how to," manuals. In my point of view, never the twain shall meet.
This pretty much echoes my thoughts exactly. Kinda wierd, I was just thinking of all this the other day. <taps screen> Is someone watching me?

I still want to do 2nd Person sometime. Usually the way second person worked was in those "Choose your own adventure" things, because rather than the author TELL you what you're doing, you're given choices which might represent something you WOULD do in a givem scenario.

But I was pondering (which is dangerous for me)... imagine that you write something so powerful enough and vague enough that it could possibly apply to MOST people? Remember those psychics that could talk to the dead supposedly?

"Oh well was your grandfather in a war?"
"Yes! Yes he was!"
"He died of wounds in battle didn't he?"
"O-M-G yes he did!"

Aye. We kinda know how that works. You ask general enough questions, all the while learning tidbits about the person to guess within ranges of probability about their "ghosts". If you asked a person these questions and she was about the age to have a grandfather in WW2, well, it probability kinda leans in your favor. Some of these dudes were really really good at this deception.

Now imagine you write a second person tale that is, technically speaking, very general. Using probability to your advantage you could have a nondescript tale with something like

"She steps up behind you until her breasts touch your back, and whispers, 'Meet me in the bathroom.'"

Now gender is something you can't really nail. You could play with it... but not completely nail. You're either gonna have them reading the same sex, or have them reading the sex not their own.

But past that, probability starts working. I'm gonna guess that half of the readers would follow the chick to the bathroom and be breathing hard and all that, and the other half would be like, "uh, naw, I wouldn't follow some strange ass chick to tha bathroom."

But then again, wouldn't HALF your readers click off a 1st person POV story for some other discrepancy anyway?

So possibly, you'll still have half the readers with you. Here's where you have to play god and kind of present them situations that generally, most people would do as the "you" character does. Using this type of smoke anf mirrors, if youre clever enough, and savvy enough, you could be leading the fish with the worm on your hook, tricking them into thinking they are actually the "you" in the story.

And after that, I think my ears are bleeding.
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:09 PM   #13
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Second person always reads more like an instruction book than a story and can annoy and bore readers real fast. Example: "Grab the man's cock. Take it into the mouth. It will taste of sweat...."
That's not second person without more context. That's first person. It's a directive from the "I." Second person has to be in the mind of the "you." (Which means I don't agree with you on not getting into anyone's head or callmeismael either. Second person is all about being in the mind of the "you" and staying there.)

That's the major problem with using second person (beside it being clunky). Apparently few understand what second person is.

This would clearly be second person: "You grab the man's cock and take it into your mouth, finding the slightly sour taste of his precum being overrided by the saltiness of his sweat."
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:13 PM   #14
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For the "you" character's thoughts, you could have the narrator guess, essentially. Like:
The narrator doesn't have to guess in third person omniscient. That's what "omniscient" means--the narrator knows everything, including what's in all characters' minds, and can reveal that to the reader if/when the narrator wants to.
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Old 09-08-2014, 04:22 PM   #15
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Thanks all.
Rework to 100% 3p is being done but I still like the original rendering. We'll see.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:37 PM   #16
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The narrator doesn't have to guess in third person omniscient. That's what "omniscient" means--the narrator knows everything, including what's in all characters' minds, and can reveal that to the reader if/when the narrator wants to.
I never said otherwise. I just offered a suggestion.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:24 PM   #17
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I never said otherwise. I just offered a suggestion.
Hmm. Having the narrator guess anything at all in third person omniscient is a contradiction in what third person omnisicent is.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:33 PM   #18
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second person makes me feel as if someone is attempting to hypnotize me.

You are...you will.....you did....

I have no idea why anyone really tries this.

Erotica works well in first person because it makes the sex more intimate(I think, anyway) and third works well for anything because it allows you to "head hop" and let multiple characters be part of a scene without mass confusion.

I did a scene in a novel where twelve people were in the room and ll yapping and busting balls, then there was a live sex show...third was the best way to handle that. I suppose first person might have worked, but "I" would not have known everything going on. Second would have been impossible.
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:08 PM   #19
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Second is near impossible for most stories.

I think I'd like to try though. Much of what we do as writers is "suspending disbelief". It'd be incredible if one could nail the hypnosis and suspend disbelief to the point that for much of the story, the reader doesn't even realize it. Much like feeling like "you were there" in 1st and 3rd.

I personally feel like 3rd, you're an onlooker, even if you're only looking over the shoulder of a single character and not all of them as in omniscient. With first, I feel like I'm in another character's skin, looking through their eyes, feeling what they feel and reading their thoughts. With 2nd, there isn't a seperate character. It's... well, you.

How cool would it be if the hypnosis was so convincing that it actually put YOU in the moment, if it were so well delivered that you hit no walls or felt no disconnect?

Hard as fuck. But I think... I'd like to try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovecraft68 View Post
second person makes me feel as if someone is attempting to hypnotize me.

You are...you will.....you did....

I have no idea why anyone really tries this.

Erotica works well in first person because it makes the sex more intimate(I think, anyway) and third works well for anything because it allows you to "head hop" and let multiple characters be part of a scene without mass confusion.

I did a scene in a novel where twelve people were in the room and ll yapping and busting balls, then there was a live sex show...third was the best way to handle that. I suppose first person might have worked, but "I" would not have known everything going on. Second would have been impossible.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:14 AM   #20
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Hmm. Having the narrator guess anything at all in third person omniscient is a contradiction in what third person omnisicent is.
But the narrator is "I" according to the OP. And it said "limited omnipotence," which sounds rather contradictory anyway.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:17 AM   #21
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I personally feel like 3rd, you're an onlooker, even if you're only looking over the shoulder of a single character and not all of them as in omniscient. With first, I feel like I'm in another character's skin, looking through their eyes, feeling what they feel and reading their thoughts. With 2nd, there isn't a seperate character. It's... well, you.
See, with me, I prefer 3d person, in general. Maybe I've got a little voyeur in me that way, but I don't *want* to be in someone else's skin. I don't mind first person, particularly, but it usually takes me a little longer to join in the story, I suppose.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:41 AM   #22
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See, with me, I prefer 3d person, in general. Maybe I've got a little voyeur in me that way, but I don't *want* to be in someone else's skin. I don't mind first person, particularly, but it usually takes me a little longer to join in the story, I suppose.
Aye such a thing isn't meant for everyone. That is no way a fault of yours, just your preference.

I'm just fascinated in general I think with storytelling. Not just story, but the way it's delivered. Same with film or music or art in general. The lighting in a scene, the sounds, the tempo to match the theme. It's the things that go unnoticed I guess that construct the overall feeling of a tale. These are almost like magicians tricks when done well.

So I guess in that sense, 2nd person fascinates me because of the possibilities of what could come of it if it was done in a way that could hold me in its trance.

Generally speaking, I've often found 2nd person to be extremely offputting, for most of the reasons everyone else does. But, perhaps I've just not found a story constructed well enough to make the spell potent enough.

And some here have said that if they couldn't find the stuff that they really wanted to read, they wrote it. 2nd person seems to be teasing me, challenging me in a way.

We all read and write to our own tastes. I'm just wondering if I've never met a cook good enough or sampled the right recipe to make me crave 2nd person.
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:37 AM   #23
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The last book I read featuring consistent use 2nd person was one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" from 30 years ago....



As you step through the middle door you enter what looks like a mix between a medieval torture chamber and Elvis Presley's bedroom. A naked blonde girl is strapped face down to a torture rack. Next to her is an ornate wooden table where-on you see a paddle.

What will you do?

1. You drop your pants, gets on top the helpless girl and pushes your hard and needy manhood inside her.

2. You undo the straps and free the girl from her restraints.

3. You grab the paddle and start whacking the girls exposed ass.

4. You quietly back out of the room.



... and so on
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:26 AM   #24
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The last book I read featuring consistent use 2nd person was one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" from 30 years ago....



As you step through the middle door you enter what looks like a mix between a medieval torture chamber and Elvis Presley's bedroom. A naked blonde girl is strapped face down to a torture rack. Next to her is an ornate wooden table where-on you see a paddle.

What will you do?

1. You drop your pants, gets on top the helpless girl and pushes your hard and needy manhood inside her.

2. You undo the straps and free the girl from her restraints.

3. You grab the paddle and start whacking the girls exposed ass.

4. You quietly back out of the room.



... and so on
My 9 y/o read one of those this weekend.
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:30 AM   #25
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My 9 y/o read one of those this weekend.
... and hopefully chose option 4!
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