Perspective Series: #5 Second-person narration

Perspective Series: #5 Second-person narration

Among the various perspective techniques we presented in our Perspective Series, there is one called Second-person narration. The Second-person narration is one of those perspective techniques that characterize the writing of a story.
It involves using the second person as the subject of the narrative.

What is the Second-person narration?

The Second-person narration is a narrative technique that concerns the narrator. As we have already seen in previous articles, the narrator can have different points of view. There is, in fact, first-person narration rather than second-person narration.
It is a little-used perspective technique, but it can create a strong involvement for the reader, who finds himself conditioning the plot of the narration with his own decisions.

Its characteristic is that it addresses the reader directly without presenting itself overtly as the ‘narrative self’.

The narrator can be a character, an external narrator, or even an object that witnesses the protagonist’s life.

The story is told using ‘you‘.

Simply put, the reader stays in the background and puts the reader in the foreground.

When Second-person narration is used?

Second-person narration is widely used in advertising and in those stories where the reader conditions the narrative’s ending.

An example you might not have thought of is role-playing or board games in general, where cards give the player directions on how to proceed in the game. An example: ‘Skip a turn!’ or ‘Back to the start’.

In the field of advertising, we think of Nike‘s slogan ‘Just do it’. This is also an example of second-person narration.

Why using the Second-person narration?

This technique allows the reader to identify with the story, experiencing the events more closely. Furthermore, using the second person explicitly (‘you’) increases the sense of urgency of the plot.

However, there are risks in using this technique.

The first risk is the colloquial and informal tone.

Secondly, writing a series of actions, almost as if it were a shopping list, boring the reader. It can be helpful to break up the descriptions in these cases, lightening the sentences.

A final risk is to disorientate the reader who, when reading the actions identified with ‘you‘, cannot identify with the character. Sometimes, the reader has a different nature and character than the character, which would lead them to act in an entirely different way from what is described in the story.

What are you doing, moon, in heaven? Tell me, what are you doing? Silent moon?

Giacomo Leopardi – Night Song of a Wandering Shepherd of Asia

First-person or Second-person narration?

There are several aspects to pay attention to before writing a story. And, at the same time, there are different perspectives to choose from.
bibisco helps you with this. Besides consulting the blog to learn more about narrative techniques and different ways of telling a story, you can use its innovative novel writing software.
You can decide how to describe your characters, what characteristics they will have, and what tone to give your story.

Perspective series- Second person narration - bibisco character's events - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s events

Conclusions

In Second-person narration, the narrative perspective is the narrator addressing the reader or a particular character directly. The story is told in the second-person singular (‘you’). The effect is to engage the reader with great emphasis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.