Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Four Viewpoints (Part 9 of 17)

If you write in the second person, you are addressing the readers directly, as in "You walk into the room and there she is, tall and blonde and looking like trouble." This is difficult to maintain for a full book and few writers can do it well.

You can intersperse first person and second person. I often do first person and mix it with second person. (I also switch from first-person singular and first-person plural.)

My book called Unleash the Writer Within is such a mixture on purpose. I tell my experience from my perspective, do a break, and switch to second person. Here's an example:

In these examples I've presented two needy, negative-impact individuals. Their inner privation shows in what they write.

But then, all of us express our neediness in what we write. I used those two examples because they seem obvious.

*****

Think about your different strengths and weaknesses. Let's start with the premise that the two terms are opposite sides of the same issue. Your power is also your drawback.

Although I've written in the previous chapter about the reasons for writing, I still come back to one significant fact. If it's not part of your commitment and your divinely given talent, you won't pursue it: Write to find out who you are.

When I wrote in the first-person singular, my purpose was to tell them something about Cec Murphey and his experience. I shifted to first-person plural when I wanted to wrap my arms around writers and say, "This is how all or most of us feel."

When I want to instruct, I shift to "you" and it feels right to me.

Before you choose POV, 
make certain you understand your purpose.

2 comments:

  1. Most of the posts concerning POV are about fiction. but I think posts 8 & 9 are the nearest to answering my question (which I'm not even certain is POV). This is my dilemma: I'm writing a nonfiction book that includes personal experiences (I) but when I want to challenge readers to personal application I waffle between "you" and "we". I don't want to sound preachy but I also don't want to water down the impact. Can I use both as long as I don't mix them up in one paragraph?

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  2. You can switch POVs, and I suggest you insert a break, such as ** of ++. In typewriter days, we wrote [two returns].
    If you switch to second person, you are writing as an authority or teacher; if you use we, your materialbecomes inclusive.

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