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The rarest POV of all: Editor's Notes #130
September 15, 2012

From a certain point of view our real enemy,
the true troublemaker, is inside.

--Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

In this issue:

1. The rarest POV of all
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site

1. The rarest POV of all
Today we continue the series on point of view (POV) with the second person point of view, the rarest narrative voice in fiction.

Although rare in fiction, second person POV is used often in song lyrics and other poetry, in self-help books, in instructional books for children, and on many Web pages that aim to build a sense of intimacy with the reader.

In the second person POV, the narrator tells the story using the pronoun you, making the reader a character in the story. This POV is difficult to sustain throughout a full novel. Sometimes it is used within a story that is written mainly in first or third person.

Strengths of second person point of view
  • Engages the reader
  • Shows that the narrator knows the reader well

Weaknesses of second person point of view
  • Difficult to sustain throughout a full novel
  • Can sound preachy
  • If done poorly, shows that the narrator does not really know the reader

Examples of second person point of view in literature
  • Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Tom Robbins)
  • Bright Lights, Big City (Jay McInerney)

For those who like a challenge, try writing in second person POV. What do you notice about how this POV influences what you write? How do you think readers will react to what you've written?

I'm interested to hear what you learn as you stretch your POV wings, so write me an email to tell me what happens as you take on the challenge.


2.Tickled my funnybone
Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.


3. Interesting Web site
Here is the Web site for the Choose Your Own Adventure series. All books are written in second person POV.

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