In writing, one may choose to use several different persons or perspectives to convey a story to a reader, including first person (“I”), second person (“you”), or third person (“they”).

Many modern authors have experimented with writing in second person, in particular. But why? Why not just write traditionally, in more of an orthodox style?

The “you” in literature is extremely powerful. There is a certain emotion that stems from feeling that one is directly placed in a story.  Many times, when an author uses the second person, he is trying to teach the reader a lesson or invoke some sort of deep, internal thought. For example, Donte Collins, a man awarded most promising young poet by the the Academy of American Poets, uses the second person frequently:

Do you still perform autopsies on conversations / you’ve had lives ago? / … because today you watched him. thought his voice cot / ton candy melting beneath your tongue…”

(“Thirteen Ways of Looking at Thirteen” from Donte Collins’ book Autopsy).

Experimentation is vital when it comes to writing. Never be afraid to explore your abilities and skills. Ayn Rayd, for instance, author of the critically acclaimed book Anthem, wrote her novel in first-person plural point of view. Instead of “I,” the narrator refers to himself as “we” in the story.

Try writing a story in second person and see how you do! Odds are, you will be surprised with the results.

3 thoughts on “What Makes “You” Powerful?

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