Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Writing in the second person: variations on the theme

A nice post by Tina Jens at Black Gate, about how different 2nd person narratives can be, depending on exactly how the author handles it.

Of course any variant of 2nd person is a specialized narrative device and obviously it is tough to use well, but I am thinking of clicking through to the Kij Johnson story which Jens refers.

Kij Johnson gives us another successful twist on 2nd Person in her story, “The Apartment Dweller’s Bestiary” (Clarksworld 100). You can read it online here. But here’s a [quick excerpt] to show you how she plays with this POV.

Your grandmother told you, “It’s good luck to have a begitte in the house,” and they are generally pretty great to have. It’s written into your lease, like renter’s insurance and no waterbeds, that a begitte is okay. Your begitte, which you got from a buddy when he moved in with his girlfriend, is a spotted one with crazy long white whiskers.

Sounds fascinating and wonderful. Except that Johnson has written several stories or vignettes that I LOATHED (“Mantis Wives,” anyone?) and so I am hesitant.

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