December / January Flash Fiction Challenge: Try a new perspective
All About Writing’s latest writing challenge offers the winner a literary assessment on 5000 words of writing worth R 2750 / £ 150 or a voucher to the same value to use on one of our courses or programmes.
This month, we’re inviting you to play with Point of View in an unusual way – to see what effect it creates. We’re seeking flash fiction written from the second-person perspective. Write no more than 250 words. Paste your entry into the body of an email and send to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on 31 January 2020.
Second person can be used to achieve a number of different effects:
- “You come into the room, take off your dress . . .” Using “you” gives us the impression of a character removed from himself, as though she were watching herself from a distance.
- Second person is most commonly used in combination with first person, where a first person narrator addresses the reader. Jane Eyre, for example, speaking of Mr Rochester, famously said: “Reader, I married him.”
- You can address an implied audience less explicitly, with phrases like: “You wouldn’t think so, would you”, or “a nasty habit, I know.” It gives a sense of intimacy between writer and reader, as though they are being directly addressed.
- You can use second person to address another character – this character could be present, absent or dead. It can be done in letters.
- It can even be a good way of introducing a slightly unreliable character, if he protesteth too much and keeps harping on about something.