May 16 – Limits: Second Person

The Prompt

Write A Story In The Second Person

Today we’re taking on the rare point of view: second person. It’s tough to pull this off without sounding like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but we’re going to try.

The Prompt

Write A Story In The Second Person


  • This is a rare point of view for a reason: it’s hard to make it sound good. However, there have been some examples that work well: Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City is one.
  • How To Get Filth Rich In Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamed, is a more recent example and, interestingly, reads like a self-help book. Consider writing a story in a self-help-y kind of style.
  • Halting State by Charles Stross uses Second Person  in a novel that features a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game). Role-playing games tend to feature a lot of Second Person in the scenario set-ups, so this is an interesting choice.
  • You could, of course, write an ironic Choose Your Own adventure story.
  • This story could be a mock-advertising piece — another form that often uses this voice.
  • This will probably feel odd, and read strangely, but if you create compelling characters and and an interesting problem for them to solve, readers will stick with you. You’ll probably end up with a fresh feel, even if your plot is not-altogether-original, simply because of the choice of voice.


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7 thoughts on “May 16 – Limits: Second Person”

  1. I’m actually surprised I managed to do this. I tried several things, and finally this came into my mind, and ended up on the paper.

  2. I actually loved this prompt. Last year, it helped me access the inner thoughts of a character willing to do anything, even risk her life, for her next fix.

    This year, a character with way too much uncertainty in his life is at the end of a serious bender – and I think second person gave me a deeper insight into his emotional, mental, and physical state than first or third could have…

    Love this POV for these types of moments. Thanks for including it in the Limits week, Julie!

  3. Gosh, this was a bit tricky. I have no idea whether I did it right or not. I even had to Google ‘writing in the second person’ to see if I could work it out.


  4. Oh boy! I remember this prompt from last year… it kind of threw me then, but I think I may do a continuation on yesterday’s story, except tell this from a different person’s viewpoint as though speaking to the subject in yesterdays…. Ooooo the wheels are a turnin’!

    1. Perspective eh?
      t strikes me now that it would be interesting to do what you are doing. I think I’ve read fiction where this is the style, though I think it leads to a really ‘edgy’ style of narrative…

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