Be a Better Writer--2nd person

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--YOU WRITE IN 2ND PERSON

Post by glorybee » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:14 pm

wheelygirl58 wrote:O.k., here I go with 2nd person. . .
"You, yes, you the one who thinks of yourself only speck on that third rock from the sun. Well, I've got to tell you,the first off, I AM the one who created that rock where you reside on and I do not consider you a mere speck! You are a child of Mine along with that, because you believe in My Son, Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are also My heir! You are very much loved by Me, My dear child! Please, don't forget that. Oh by the way, you know who is THE speck in this cosmos I created? That fallen angel of Mine, Lucifer, his more common name is Satan. Just remember,the great I AM does love you!"
It's a very subtle difference in voice. Shann's re-write is very close, but still seems to have an implied narrator who is the true POV character. A 2nd person rewrite might sound something like this:

You think of yourself only a speck on that third rock from the sun, never stopping to consider the God who created that rock. You think you are insignificant, but you are significant in the Creator's sight...

I'm typing this on my tiny phone, so I can't easily see your original or Shann's oh-so-close version, but when hers had something like "you need to consider...", that's where its little toe dipped into the "unseen first person" territory.

It might be helpful to consider the words abbreviated by "POV"--Point Of View. When you read the piece, whose spirit/soul/ mind are you seeing? It has to be the "you" character to be 2nd person. Give the story by Leigh MacKelvey that I linked to in the lesson another read--that's a better example than I'm capable of without my computer.

It's tricky, isn't it? Tomorrow's lesson is back in familiar territory.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--YOU WRITE IN 2ND PERSON

Post by Shann » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:40 am

You nailed it Jan. I knew it wasn't quite right when I wrote it, but couldn't think of how to fix it. I put the two side by side. Mine is in purple and yours in red9. By taking out the words that you did, you set it up in a whole other way. The mysterious narrator doesn't seem obvious in yours. In mine, I would definitely wonder who was talking to "you," but the way you have it, I didn't wonder that.

You , yes you, the one who thinks of yourself as only a speck on that third rock from the sun. Well, you need to know first off that God is the one who created that rock where you reside and He does not consider you a mere speck.

You think of yourself only a speck on that third rock from the sun, never stopping to consider the God who created that rock. You think you are insignificant, but you are significant in the Creator's sight...

I wonder if my rewrite would work if somehow the MC (you) could be looking into a mirror. Something like : You look in the mirror and barely recognize the person you see. Wagging your finger, you say, "You, yes you, the one who thinks of yourself as only a speck on that third rock First off, you need to remember that God created that rock on which you reside."

I used some of the same words, but by creating a clearer picture of who the MC is, it totally changes that mysterious narrator, at least I hope it does. I'm really not trying to be difficult, but want to understand how to write in the second person other than as a self-help book, sermon, or devotion. I doubt I'd try it very often, but it has really opened my eyes to a clever way to use this voice, something I couldn't picture myself doing unless it was meant to be sarcastic and slightly funny as in my challenge entry. By adding the mirror, it adds a whole new dimension, I hope. In my opinion, it also changes the atmosphere from one of a lecture to more of a almost sad self-examination.

I also want to stress to anyone who reads these lessons, but doesn't participate, you're really missing out on a huge opportunity to improve your writing and better understand what you read. By participating on the first page, it led to me writing a challenge entry. I hadn't even considered thinking of a storyline. It made me realize again, that God gave me the desire to write and led me here to allow me to write and work out things that have been bothering. It doesn't always happen that way, but God definitely has told me to write when I'm struggling, :sorry and when I obey, good things happen.

Then by participating again, I learned another way to use this voice. I can't stress enough how blessed we are to have Jan. She really does help all levels of writers. Reading is good, but participating is excellent. Not only will you help yourself, but like Wheelie Girl, you might help someone else too. It can be intimidating or worrisome to wonder if you totally missed the point, but this is one of the safest venues out there and it really does help you grow as a reader, writer, and even editor. Thank you Jan. You truly do rock! :thumbs :thankssign
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Re: Be a Better Writer--YOU WRITE IN 2ND PERSON

Post by glorybee » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:57 pm

The mirror idea works for me!
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Re: Be a Better Writer--YOU WRITE IN 2ND PERSON

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:40 pm

Here is my attempt at second person POV. The title is “The Real Reason Why People Get Fat.”

"It’s Monday. You go food shopping. You choose flounder because it’s low in fat; ditto for the skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Later you’ll broil them—no butter or salt of course. Then you select vegetables—no, no cauliflower—no white foods remember? You get kale and broccoli. You won’t cook them with any salt or butter either. You approach the fruit section—careful—fruits have carbs and many have a high glycemic index. You stick to grapefruit. Then you head for the beverage section, stock up on diet cola and coffee. Finally you throw some Sweet’N Low in your cart. You’ve already got diet jello and fake whipped cream at home.

On Saturday evening you’re depressed, so you head out for two Big Macs and a double portion of fries, then stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a dozen chocolate doughnuts."

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Re: Be a Better Writer--YOU WRITE IN 2ND PERSON

Post by glorybee » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:50 pm

Cinnamon Bear wrote:Here is my attempt at second person POV. The title is “The Real Reason Why People Get Fat.”

"It’s Monday. You go food shopping. You choose flounder because it’s low in fat; ditto for the skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Later you’ll broil them—no butter or salt of course. Then you select vegetables—no, no cauliflower—no white foods remember? You get kale and broccoli. You won’t cook them with any salt or butter either. You approach the fruit section—careful—fruits have carbs and many have a high glycemic index. You stick to grapefruit. Then you head for the beverage section, stock up on diet cola and coffee. Finally you throw some Sweet’N Low in your cart. You’ve already got diet jello and fake whipped cream at home.

On Saturday evening you’re depressed, so you head out for two Big Macs and a double portion of fries, then stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a dozen chocolate doughnuts."

Cinnamon Bear
Excellent example of 2nd person writing!
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Re: Be a Better Writer--YOU WRITE IN 2ND PERSON

Post by Shann » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:43 pm

A big bouquet of flowers for you! (picture flowers as I'm horrible at figuring out how to attach pictures!) You do make a difference. If not for your lesson, I never would have entered the challenge last week and it came in 3rd overall! It also helped me come to terms with somethings I'd been struggling with. You are a huge blessing and I'm so excited to share my EC with you!!!

I even decided to try and get the flowers for you. I hope it works!

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It took me three times and I finally had to look it up again in the FAQ, but you're worth it. (I kept wanting to use the url instead of img button, duh!) It felt so good to do it and there were so many to chose from I'll send you one more...maybe!

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