[Writing Prompt] A Way Into Second Person

It’s easy to raise objections to writing fiction in the second person point of view (“You do this, you do that and then you feel …”). The most obvious objection is that it reads like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel. It’s hard to pull off.

But this morning I was listening to an interview with a writer who found a fascinating way into the POV: his novel, “How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia”, is written as a self-help book. (It’s a great interview, full of all kinds of good stuff. Have a listen.)

The writer, Mohsin Hamid, sounds like such a nice guy that I hope he won’t mind us stealing his idea for this weeks’ writing exercise:

The Prompt

Write a second-person fiction tale as if it was a self-help book/article.


Think of all the ‘How To Write” articles you’ve read over the years. Have some fun with them

It doesn’t have to be ‘self help’, it can be aping any type of non-fiction that lends itself to second person.

You can often find this kind of writing at McSweeney’s. It isn’t always obvious that you might apply the label ‘fiction’, but it certainly is.

Read a sample of “How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia


The Rules:

  • You should use the prompt in your story (however tenuous the connection).
  • You must write the story in one 24 hr period – the faster the better.
  • Post the story in the comments — if you’re brave enough.
  • Find something nice to say about someone else’s story and leave a comment. Everybody needs a little support!

Optional Extras:

Share this challenge on Twitter or Facebook

Some tweets/updates you might use:

Don’t miss my short story: Self Help Story #WriteOnWed #storyaday https://storyaday.org/wow-second

This week’s #WriteOnWed short story prompt is Self Help Story! #storyaday https://storyaday.org/wow-second

Come and write with us! #WriteOnWed #storyaday https://storyaday.org/wow-second

See my story – and write your own, today: Self Help Story at #WriteOnWed #storyaday https://storyaday.org/wow-second

If you would like to be the Guest Prompter, click here.



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