Is there a reason why this POV works best for your story, other than style and a desire to be Literary with a capital L?”Iain Banks’ You hear the car after an hour and a half.When I told my best friend and future editor Gary Fisketjon what I was doing he said that he hoped I wasn’t trying to write an entire novel in the second person.
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If ever there was a rule that most editors and publishers agree on, it’s this: don’t write a novel with a second-person point of view.
In fact, that’s exactly the feedback Jay Mc Inerney got when he was drafting his debut novel.“I wrote the first draft in six weeks during the summer of 1983.
Author and editor Tim Major points out that this choice of POV ties with the novel’s primary theme (which is spelled out in the title).
“The second-person perspective makes the reader complicit in the murders, experiencing them as if he or she is carrying them out, and therefore the reader is involved in a very unusual manner.”This uncomfortable intimacy in the ‘killer’ chapters brings the reader into the headspace of the journalist — who himself is dealing with this acute sense of complicity.
Consider if Mc Inerney instead opted for first-person, and we had: ‘I'm not the kind of guy who would do this, but I'm at a club…’“In this instance, first-person is inviting the reader to believe what they're telling them. There is no debate about what kind of person you are or if these actions happened.
You are, and they did, and we know that because there is no functional difference between the reader and the character.”As Bahr hints, the second-person narrator can bypass the ‘unreliability’ of first-person narrators.
Cast in the story, we feel more involved in the discourse.
Here’s a piece of advice from editor Kate Angelella: “If an author wanted to try writing in second-person POV, I would encourage them to do so — so long as it's a purposeful choice.
Reedsy editor Tricia Callahan worked on Jemisin’s book as a proofreader and sees it as a prime example of how this form can benefit a story.“The second-person POV brings the reader closer to the narrator, making the reading experience more intimate and less detached.
When the narrator turns the reader into one of the characters, the story feels immediate and surrounding.”Greater intimacy, however, is not always the only result of this viewpoint.