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Kraetos
Lovable Bastard
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boston-ish
 
2009-10-01, 19:32

I'm taking Intro to Fiction Writing this semester and my assignment this week (due tomorrow ) is to write a flash fiction story (three page max) in the second person perspective.



Second person!?! Who writes in the second person?

Well, whatever, I need to do it, and I can't for the life of me think of something to write about. I've been thinking about it since Tuesday when it was assigned and I've got bupkis. Anyone have an interesting story? That would lend itself well to a second-person narrator?

*I just used the new smiley for the first time, and I 100% approve of the shorthand.

Sadly, being a technology pundit is truly never having to say you’re sorry. You can be wrong for years and never lose your job.—The Macalope
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murbot
Mammogram Tech
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Canada
 
2009-10-01, 19:42

How about I'm being chased from a bathroom by 3 gang members looking for a scientific chip of some kind that can be used by a bad man to do terrible things, and they HAVE MY FAMILY, and I have to make some really crazy split second decisions, but the thing is I has really bad diarrhea and the guys busted into the bathroom just a second before I was going to let it go, and I'm going commando that day. I can time travel up to 4 hours at a time, but only once a day, and it's kind of like The Time Traveler's Wife where I can't bring my clothes with me... but probably the diarrhea will follow me though!!

Eh, first thing that came into my head.
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2009-10-01, 19:59

You could do something like this:

Quote:
You stand at the cliff precipice. Adolf Hitler rises to his feet, his nose bloodied from your brilliant swing with a menacing look. In corner of your eye, Josef Stalin lunges at you with machete, which you barely dodge. You know you can't fight them at once.



To push Adolf off the cliff, turn to page 78
To push Josef off the cliff, turn to page 101
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billybobsky
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Inner Swabia. If you have to ask twice, don't.
 
2009-10-01, 22:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by murbot View Post
How about I'm being chased from a bathroom by 3 gang members looking for a scientific chip of some kind that can be used by a bad man to do terrible things, and they HAVE MY FAMILY, and I have to make some really crazy split second decisions, but the thing is I has really bad diarrhea and the guys busted into the bathroom just a second before I was going to let it go, and I'm going commando that day. I can time travel up to 4 hours at a time, but only once a day, and it's kind of like The Time Traveler's Wife where I can't bring my clothes with me... but probably the diarrhea will follow me though!!

Eh, first thing that came into my head.
It's sunrise, finally, you have survived the night and for the first time since taking the AZPLD chip you begin to feel the wounds, bruises, and infections you have acquired on the way. The disquieting buzzing your mind has provided as a sound track was the only thing keeping you realizing how truly awful you feel; and now that you have been able to sleep in the cold pre-dawn hours, you no longer have the adrenaline to keep the pain away.

You couldn't have possibly known it was going to be this way. No one would have believed that your brother was a clone, happily killing your sister and framing you. The small amount of celebrity your trial afforded him was enough to attract the curiosity of some rather dark investors, and that was how his pitch was made.

As a small group of highly trained scientists, three in all, four if you include your brother's clone, had discovered a new use for the AZPLD chips being produced at a covert psy-ops facility outside of Cape May, NJ. The devices were initially designed to allow spies unfettered access to the deepest thoughts of unsavory sorts hell bent on causing the US harm. Having circumvented the torture prohibition, certain agencies would then have actionable information whose quality was far more guaranteed. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Not as designed anyway. The reports were only mildly redacted and your brother was able to piece together the design and realized that the chip might be able to provide him with a means of transferring his consciousness wholesale into his clone. What the army scientists had failed to realize was that instead of turning the test-subject's brains into chocolate jello pudding, they had opened up a means to write the complete content of the conscious in front of them. The mimicry of the subjects they lamented was merely this writing process working about as inefficiently as possible.

Your brother rebuilt the AZPLD chip in his lap and used it to transfer his conscious to his clone. It was merely a science project to him, he didn't realize the dangers of making himself obsolete. The clone, who killed your sister, and holds your brother wants the chip so that he can control the entire world -- every action, every thought an extension of his mind.

You may be asking yourself how I know all of this, well remember what your brother's clone said as you pulled the chip from the visor he was positioning above your head? He said that he will be seeing you in the future, right? The process was successful, he wanted you to escape -- a fleeing prey is always more fun, he shares that instinct with your father. He put me here to warn you when his peers are approaching. You don't have much time, and it feels like you need to relieve yourself -- it's a good thing that he took your underwear, one final reminder of that childhood game, it's one less impediment to emptying your bowls.

You ought to know, they are behind the door, waiting for a sign. He must be getting bored, he seems to be changing your perspective, something more futuristic. I guess he grew tired of the triviality of a chase in a timeline you know so well, you can only hope the future is far less malodorous.

[how's that?]
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FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Slightly Off Center
 
2009-10-01, 22:54

Quote:
Your brother rebuilt the AZPLD chip in his lap
That's when you asked, "Is that an AZPLD chip in your lap, my brother, or are you just really, really happy to see me?".
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Fooboy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2009-10-01, 22:57

Just mix apes, lasers and robots and you've got a winner.
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Maciej
M AH - ch ain saw
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-10-01, 23:28

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fooboy View Post
Just mix apes, lasers and robots and you've got a winner.


The best piece of advice I've ever gotten about writing, from a writer was; "just write." Get things down on paper, however useful you might think they may be (at the time), and the rest will take care if itself as you go. Although truth be told, it really isn't the type of advice that's useful in last minute situations. I just wanted to share it for your future stories, and struggles if need be.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2009-10-01, 23:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maciej View Post
The best piece of advice I've ever gotten about writing, from a writer was; "just write." Get things down on paper, however useful you might think they may be (at the time), and the rest will take care if itself as you go.
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.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
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.

Quote:
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
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2009-10-02, 02:36

So I've thought about my post for a bit and feel the need to make some corrections.

In its purest form, second person is probably speaking directly to the reader; the reader probably shouldn't assume the role of any character in the story (i.e., a child born in a superstitious age). My example might be sort of moot, I guess. The problem, then, is speaking to the reader without telling them what they are doing and "boxing them in," so to speak. Readers don't like their actions to be dictated for them; unless you're writing a CYOA book, you probably don't want to say "You picked up the sword and killed him" because your reader might not want to. So if you had to describe the reader figure's actions, I'd pick a time when the reader figure wasn't aware or in control of their actions, IE when they were very young, in a coma, sleeping (though that could get kind of creepy), &c. No matter what you do, you will be making the reader figure a character, but making their actions believable and agreeable might disguise that a bit? Idunno.

I don't write in second person very often.

One reason that paper might be have been assigned is that avoiding the use of the word "I" can help eliminate passive voice from writing; using the coma example, one would have to write "You worried us" rather than "We were worried." In any case, it's a very nontraditional writing mode, so I can't imagine it would be graded too harshly.

Maybe you could personify a concept, and write to that? But I'm not sure if that would be second person in the strictest sense, either.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Kraetos
Lovable Bastard
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boston-ish
 
2009-10-03, 13:13

For the second week in a row, I found my muse whilst surfing old xkcd's.

How To Break Up With Your Girlfriend

You come home one night at 2 AM, drunk. You were at this dive bar, with your buddy Chris, and couldn’t help but feel jealous because he was getting all the girls and you always pass them up. You’ve been with her for three years and you love her. But why do you love her? Do love her because it’s familiar? Of course no one could ever understand you like she does, but isn’t there something to be said for exploring?

You wake up the next afternoon with a vicious hangover. You crawl out of bed and wonder why your pants aren’t in your room. After stumbling downstairs, your housemate gives you crap for getting shitfaced on a Wednesday. Again. “Dude, you have a girlfriend! What are you doing with that skeezball Chris, at Blur, on a Wednesday?”

He has a point. “Shut up,” you tell him, unwilling to communicate since it sounds like he’s talking into a megaphone. “Where are my pants?” you ask. He laughs and points to the kitchen. You stumble over and find a pair of blue jeans crumpled on the floor in front of the dishwasher. There’s a pot of cold coffee on the counter, so you down it and reach for your pants. You then discover that your cell phone didn’t make it to it’s charger last night, due to the fact that that in your drunken stupor, you left your pants in the kitchen for no apparent reason.

The battery is almost dead, but you have two new texts. The first is from Chris. “Dude, that Stacy girl was mad into you last night!” He has a point. What are you really doing with this relationship? You’re graduating in the fall and you’ve dated the same girl for three years. What are you missing? Who else is out there?

Who cares who else is out there? You have an amazing girl who would go to the ends of the Earth for you. She loves you for you.

You read the second text. It’s from her. “What are you up to today? You should stop by.” She has a point. You’ve been spending far too much time with your frat boy friends and not nearly enough time with her. You shouldn’t be doing Jägerbombs with floozies in a dive bar on a Wednesday night. You should be with her, curled up on the couch, watching some crappy movie she loves, even though you’ve already seen it a thousand times.

You find your shoes and begin your trek to her house. Are you really going to do this? You’re going to break up with your girl because ‘Stacy was mad into you?’

But it’s not just that. You’ve been doing this for months. Living vicariously through Chris and his obnoxious friends. You don’t even like Chris! But he always knows where the party is. So you call him every night and ask “what’s good tonight, bro?” And he always has the answer. And you always tag along.

Why? Why do you subject yourself to this slow, expensive torture, going to shitty bars looking for easy girls, all so you can back down at the last moment? “I have a girlfriend,” you say. Do you mean it? Can you even pretend to mean it given that you spent the last hour buying this girl drinks?

The next thing you know, there she is, standing in her door, looking at you, head tilted slightly to the right. Her hair is jet black, her skin is pale and her eyes seem to change color from brown to green in the sunlight. She smiles at you.

You can’t do this. You love her. Look at her! She’s an angel! No, no, this is wrong. Tell her how you feel. You owe her an explanation. She will understand.

“I worry.”

“You worry about what?”

“I worry that I’m with you because it’s comfortable. But I love you. Nobody compares to you. And even though I worry about what I’m missing, I don’t dare let go of you long enough to find out.

“I’m happy with you. I mean it. So I’m going to stop worrying and start spending more time with you. I promise.”

You reach out and hold her hand. She smiles awkwardly before glancing at the floor as she brushes a stray strand of hair away from her face.

“This is probably a bad time to bring this up, but I don’t actually love you anymore.”

She has a point.

Sadly, being a technology pundit is truly never having to say you’re sorry. You can be wrong for years and never lose your job.—The Macalope
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Capella
Dark Cat of the Sith
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
Send a message via AIM to Capella  
2009-10-03, 13:57

Awesome story, and a fine technical use as well.

We have enough writers here that doing mini fiction challenges sounds like a fun idea.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2009-10-03, 14:29

Everybody write scary stories for Halloween! I think a month is enough time to assemble and polish a short story, right? It doesn't have to be super amazing, just scary.

Then maybe in November we could have a NaNoWriMo group.
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Capella
Dark Cat of the Sith
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
Send a message via AIM to Capella  
2009-10-03, 16:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman View Post
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.
Amen. I've never actually finished a NaNo (why the hell isn't it in summer?), but every time, I get a huge chunk of something done, and I feel very proud of myself for it, because it provides a base from which to work.

My biggest issue is that I get so caught up in backstory. (I think this stems from doing speculative
fiction.) I'll write something like:

"Cade looked out over the winter landscape. It was the Season of Snows."

Then I'll go "you know, if it's called 'the Season of Snows', why am I using the word winter? He wouldn't think it was a winter landscape, he doesn't know what winter is! I guess I could justify it as a concession to my readers, but couldn't I find a better synonym?"

And then I'll change it to something like:

"Cade looked out over the frozen landscape. It was the Season of Snows."

And then I'll be like "it needs a single-word name for ease of reference. Which god did I assign to snow?" and I'll look in my "Gods" document and I'll find out that I didn't assign a god to snow, but the goddess whose season is winter is called Sehktae and her element is also water so it makes double sense" and then I'll spend time playing around with different words that I can try to derive from her name until I get:

"Cade looked out over the winter landscape. It was Sehlei, the Season of Snows."

It will have taken about an hour to achieve this.

This, my friends, is why NaNo is beautiful. You just crap stuff out, forcing yourself to just do something like "Season of Snows (othername)" and go back and fix it later, after you have a final project. It saves you from getting caught up in thinking and rethinking the minutae.

please tell me someone else works like this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman View Post
Everybody write scary stories for Halloween! I think a month is enough time to assemble and polish a short story, right? It doesn't have to be super amazing, just scary.

Then maybe in November we could have a NaNoWriMo group.
Sounds good to me.

"A blind, deaf, comatose, lobotomy patient could feel my anger!" - Darth Baras
twitter ; amateur photographer ; fanfiction writer ; roleplayer and worldbuilder
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2009-10-03, 21:27

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capella View Post
please tell me someone else works like this
Ahem, try also being a super-picky book designer.

But seriously y'all, you will fall in love the follow-up to my novel. It's two novellas short novels, published back-to-back, so that when you finish the first one (which one is first is totally up to you) you turn the book upside down and read the next. And the cover, oh! It's an unjacketed all-black affair, with two passes of massive foil stamping of each side - one silver and red, one silver and blue - each showing, in a high-contrast, comic-book-style illustration, the main character and title of each novella . In fact, the only thing indicating the title of the collection would be the spine (where it would be printed in each direction) and a length of a rough, off-white, canvas-y fabric tied around the book's middle, with the title stamped onto that with an ink stamp (so that it would smudge a bit and look a little different on each one). This all sounds very expensive, and it is, but you can do that when it's the follow-up to a super-bestselling novel.

Now I just need to, um, finish writing that novel first.

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