I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perspective and how it applies to writing, what I prefer to read, what I prefer to write, what other people prefer to read.
This was mostly prompted by discussions at Goodreads in The Sword & Laser’s discussion forums. The book they’re currently reading, Rule 34 (affiliate link), is done in the rarely-used second person form.
Second person is common in game-books, which is a form of writing I enjoy, but when it comes to reading a story or novel that I’m not in some way “participating” in, I just can’t enjoy it. More than anything it’s the synchronicity of the experience. Since I’m supposedly an observer experiencing this story of someone else’s, my mind rebels at the idea that it’s in present tense, happening RIGHT NOW. How can I be reading a record of events happening as I read them?
Some people can get past this, but I can’t seem to. I’d been eager to read the Spellsong Cycle by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. but when I realized they were second-person perspective, I abandoned them before I even started.
If you’ve checked out any of the fiction I write in the Fiction Fragments or Draft Stories sections of the site, it’s pretty clear that I favor 3rd person limited for the most part, though now and then I find myself drifting into 3rd person omniscient.
Do any of you have very strong feelings about particular points of view in writing? I know I’m not alone in my feelings on 2nd person present tense, I’ve discussed it with some others. Any of you disagree? Feel free to let me know, I’m very curious about how people get around the simultaneity issue and why it’s not an issue.