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Formerly Roboman, still
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
2009-10-02, 01:23

Speak of the devil! I just wrote a couple pages of flash fiction in the second person a few days ago. It was a weird, reworked alternate universe background for a character in my novel, but the character is similar in name and appearance only. It's written in the form of a communiqué, explaining the addressees' past, and apologizing for a lie the sender had previously told the recipient. Easy as pie.

Note that for the purposes of a second-person assignment, if you're writing an epistolary work, I would leave out anything like a salutation or a date at the beginning. Those form a demarcation between a letter and a larger first- or third-person text (when we already likely know the characters) but I would personally consider them an unnecessary tipping of the hand in an entirely second-person piece; beginning "Dear Joe" would just sort of feel like a cop-out. Why not hold the identity of the addressee back, until at least the body of the letter? I began directly ("You were born, I am sad to say, in a superstitious age...") and went from there. But of course the entire point of my piece of flash fiction was revealing who the recipient was and why their birth was unfortunate, which I kept back until the bottom of page 2. You might be writing something entirely different, but it's something to keep in mind and maybe play around with a little. At the beginning of a story (no matter how short), mystery is far more important than knowledge.

Also, if you give the identity of the recipient too soon, you might confuse your readers as to which is the main character. The sender can still be the central figure, even as he largely avoids the word "I." We would just find out about him through what he tells other characters, of course.

Originally Posted by Brad View Post
That reminds me of NaNoWriMo. A lot of people say you should just write all month, deliberately not planning much out in advance and leaving the editing for later.
That's the greatest strength of NaNoWriMo; it forces you to right. A novel written in such conditions is very rarely going to be good, but at least at the end of thirty days participants have something, which is something they didn't have before.

Good thread.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong