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Blue Screen of Death August 29th, 2008 8:59 PM

Breaking the fourth wall.
I thought of this once, writing a story where the reader is actually the main character. I would imagine it would go like this somewhat (took this out of one of my writing things that now remains unfinished)

"But I'm getting ahead of myself. This whole time you've been sitting here, listening to my story, but I never gave you my name. My name is Fredrick Charles, and my small blue friend here is Marin, a marill as you can see." an elderly man tells you. This man is wearing a well worn green jacket, with a blank blue shirt under that. He still seems to have a fair amount of brown hair on his head, but you can see the Grey coming in. You met him in the woods you are currently in, while you where looking for a very elusive Shroomish, and he invited you to come to his camp. Which
seems more like a canoe held up on one end by a stick and a fire. When you had both become comfortable he started this story he has been telling you, up until this point, in which he decided to introduce himself. He seems trustworthy, and hasn't a single thing to make you think otherwise. "Are you hungry?" He asks, reaching into a sack lying near his canoe and pulling out two long, sharpened metal rods and a small package of hot dogs. He hands you one of the rods and sets the hot dogs off to the side of the fire, at a point where you can both reach them. "If you want any, help yourself." He says, then adds, "Well, I guess I should continue my story. Where was I again? Ah yes, Sable."
See? The problem is, it would be hard to do without controlling the character the reader is. I just don't know how well that would go over. Any suggestions?

iLike2EatPiez August 29th, 2008 10:04 PM

Normally second person (writing from the reader's perspective) works well with deeper writing. It helps connect the reader to the story, and combined with lush detail and strong emotions can make a fic really stick out. However, it usually works best with short works such as oneshots. Going through a whole long chaptered fic that places you directly in it, rather than a regular character, can easily get boring and repetitive after a while.

It really depends on the context of your story, though. You have to keep in mind that you can't just make any plot for a fic and stuff the word "you" in it all over the place. Think of it this way: Would the story work with relatively the same effect if you'd used a normal, first or third person character? If so, it's probably best to not use second person. It's rather awkward to show long-term character development and plotty events while dragging the reader along in the story, especially when you could give the same effect without this writing style.

That said, second person goes best in short, deep bursts, making it perfect for some oneshots, but very hard to pull off with most chaptered fics. I'm sure it's possible to pull it off, though, without it seeming too awkward. You just need a very creative means of writing it, and an actual purpose to using second person rather than either of the other POVs.

Ninja Caterpie August 30th, 2008 6:30 AM

Hey, I tried that for my oneshot FFC last month! It...was better than it would have been in 3rd person, I think.

I agree with ILike2EatPiez, second person is better for deep, emotional fics, especially one-shots.

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