Second Person Point of View

Telling a story using you is called second person point of view. Using this viewpoint, you control all of the information and give the reader whatever you want.

Example: “You open your eyes and the sun is already high in the sky. You’ve slept away the whole morning. You roll over on the hot sand, scrambling to your knees. The events of last night come rushing back to you…”

second person point of view

Very little fiction is written in second person with the exception of “choose your own adventure” types of books, or books about psychosis. But it is a popular style for a lot of non-fiction self-help books, and tourism ads.

It often has a jarring effect in fiction and is the least popular viewpoint. Your reader picks up a book to escape into another character for awhile and using “you” destroys this illusion. And it just feels weird--as though you are being bossed around with someone always telling you what to do and feel.


Second person point of view is certainly the most rare and most difficult to use viewpoint, but there are instances when you may find beneficial to your story.


second person point of view

There are few genres which use second person and they are often short pieces.

• choose your own adventure books

• video games

• self-help books

• short pieces called POV stories

• travel articles

Things to Keep in Mind

I often see the writer use second person to address the audience directly, unexpectedly in the middle of the story. This generally results in a viewpoint breach and should be avoided. It pulls us out of the story and makes us wonder who just spoke to us. It reminds us that we are only reading a story, when really, you want your reader to be lost in the story and forget that he/she is reading.


So why would anyone want to write in second person point of view?

Until recently I would have said, never. But there are instances when you need to make an impression on the reader. One of my students used it in the opening chapter of his book to forcefully put the reader in the protagonist’s shoes. It was extremely well done and came off with a “Wonder Years” type of feel to it. So I take back my answer and say that second person does work in rare instances, when handled well. It is not something I’d recommend for the beginning writer though as it’s very hard to keep up consistently.

second person writing

Point of View in Literature
First Person Point of View
Third Person Point of View
Omniscient Point of View
Perspectives in Point of View

How to Teach Creative Writing

Power Novel Writing Courses

Enrollment Limited

Sherry Wilson's step-by-step method helped me organize my thoughts and transform a simple idea into a full-fledged plot. Without her help and guidance, I'd still be walking around with just another "great idea for a story."

Thanks to Sherry, though, I've published three novels and know there are more on the way!

~ Debi Faulkner, Summoning, LilyPad Princess and Murphy's Law

"Sherry is extremely professional and knowledgeable in this field. She is an expert on delivering punchy openings, developing engaging conflict and has the ability to view the whole story for structure and overall effect.

As well as being technically proficient in many styles, she also possesses a rich imagination, offering suggestions and alternatives in a way that doesn't impose on the writer's own style.

Her observations are honest and valuable, beyond what many others can give. I highly recommend her."

A. Rigby, Freelance Writer Goldstream, Alaska

"WOW! I have had a quick read of your comments and I must say they are awesome! You are thorough, I like that. Yes, I agree with all of your suggestions for they definitely improve the story. I'm eager now to commence corrections.

I really appreciate the work you've done so far. I'm glad you didn't rush. You provide excellent value for your services."

--Lena Jones

"Sherry Wilson has a deep understanding of the craft of writing and a natural gift for the art of writing. As an editor, she uses both these attributes. Her editing is thorough and precise, encompassing all the craft issues: grammar, sentence structure, active voice and so on. But she goes beyond the basics to find the heart and soul of the story, helping the writer to capitalize on his unique assets.

Being an editor myself, there are not too many people I would trust with my own work. Sherry is one of them."

Sandy Tritt, editor and CEO Inspiration for Writers