Writing fiction in second person point of view is one of those fancy tricks that many people attempt, but few people pull off. I’ve always wanted to do it, but my first several tries sounded stilted and like I was trying too hard.
But this week’s Binyan (inside Hamodia) contains the first story where I think I pulled it off. I think that part of what makes it work is that it combines the first and second person. Let me explain.
I wrote the story as an interview, where the reader only is privy to the interviewee’s responses, given mostly in first person. The interviewer (Chaim Mendel from several prior stories I wrote for Binyan) is off-page, being addressed by his classmate in second-person and even having events related that he was originally part of.
I found it interesting is that in reading the story, the reader is being addressed with that “you” and assumes the role of Chaim Mendel. Since we don’t hear Chaim Mendel’s voice, we rely on what the other character says to learn who Chaim Mendel is. Luckily, he’s a very likeable guy — I think a “you” in a second-person situation who was unlikeable would be hard to pull off unless very charismatic.