15 October 2009

using the second person, finding perspectives

In text quoted below I am using the second person ["you"] rather than first [I] or third [She] or more abstract ["It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."]

I do not intend to use the second person through the whole book. Nikki Gemmell fiercely uses the second person throughout The Bride Stripped Bare, an extraordinary and difficult piece of writing, teetering in places, needing to be read as a whole, not hunting for saucy bits as some may. The 'you' works, the book to be taken very seriously. Maybe easier to start with Cleave, published in the US as Alice Springs: Gemmell's raw, chafed, hunting, hunted rhythm and style there have been a big influence on me.

I was very pleased when a member of my local writers group, reading my opening second person chapter (see last entry and 'writing fiction', a couple of entries below that) told me he found it very confronting. Excellent, I said, I am delighted that you found it uncomfortable to be inside of the head of an 18 year old young woman on her way back to Beijing from political imprisonment in 1975.

Other voices will be used, to provide different viewpoints and more documentary passages.