Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.

Writing Challenge–2nd person point of view

12 Comments

My writing is focused on novels these days but I do enjoy trying something different now and then. Think of it as a creative cleansing. The idea of writing a novel in the 2nd person is awful but I’m sure it’s been done. Try a paragraph or two and see where it takes you. As usual this is a challenge with no prize but feel free to add links to your paragraph in my comments section. Here’s my effort:

YOU NEVER KNEW

(c) Christine Gardner 2016

You probably think this story’s about you, don’t you?

You never knew what hit you. When you got up that morning you took your new suit off the hanger and carefully pulled it from the plastic covering. It looked schmick, you thought; the young bloke in the store had been right. It was nice to have a change from that funereal black you wore all the time. You weren’t so sure about the shirt—it was pale pink and you held it in front of you in the mirror and pulled a face. With your hair starting to grey at the sides and your beard definitely grey you wondered if you looked too much like a grey and pink galah.

You took one of your white shirts from the walk in robe you shared with nobody anymore and hung it on the doorknob. Old Dolly had done a good job of washing and ironing it, as she did all your clothes these days. She looked after you so much better than a wife would. And much cheaper. Also she knew when to keep her mouth shut, which was most of the time.

Your favourite tie, the grey one with the swirls of different shades of blue, would look perfect with the grey suit and the white shirt. You glanced over at the pink shirt again and shook your head. Definitely the white one; the pink one might do one day with one of your black suits, or jeans even. You hung it in the wardrobe and walked into the bathroom where you stood under the steaming hot shower and let your mind go to places usually banned. The shower was good for that, and bad. You didn’t really want to think about her but sometimes you needed to. Sometimes you just had to remember.

She was the prettiest thing you’d ever seen, natural blond with the most enchanting green eyes, like a fairy-tale witch, you teased her.  You’d simply had to have her; it wasn’t difficult. She was young and naïve and you were neither. You sent her flowers at first, then jewellery, and you took her to the best restaurants where you educated her palate with the best wines on the menu. You even bought her a brand new grey BMW; not the garish red one she wanted because you were trying to teach her what good taste was. You knew what was best for her and it wasn’t long before she did whatever you asked of her. Anything.

Then you got bored. She was, after all, very naïve. No matter what you tried to teach her she was just a pretty face with an empty head. In the bedroom she was magical; outside it she was as useless as a Christmas decoration at Easter time.

You looked in the bathroom mirror and smiled as you dried yourself. Not bad at all for an old bloke of fifty two, you thought. Not bad at all. You sprayed yourself with deodorant and splashed aftershave here and there, even though you weren’t shaving. The Armani one. Dropping the wet towel on the floor you went out to the bedroom and pulled on your Calvin Klein jocks and socks and then dressed in your white shirt and new grey suit.

The full length mirror showed all of you from your perfectly styled hair to your black Gucci loafers, which were your favourites. Easy to slip on and off, but still smart. You looked a million bucks, you thought. Almost too good for such an occasion.

You looked out the window and frowned as the rain started, then smiled. Perfect really, just the right weather for it. You grabbed your umbrella from the stand inside the front door and had one last look in the hall mirror before you left your apartment.

The doorman knew you well enough to guess you wanted a taxi; he also knew where you were going and why. He just nodded and waved a taxi down and you handed him a ten dollar note and got in.

The journey was only around thirty minutes, not bad considering the weather; it wasn’t raining heavily and it wasn’t cold, but dreary with intermittent showers, just like the redhead on the weather show earlier had promised. Perfect.

When you arrived there were a handful of people waiting, most of them no more than familiar faces that you couldn’t give a name to and didn’t care to. Her friends were of no interest to you and never had been, nor her family. You’d whisked her away from that and given her everything any woman could want and she hadn’t needed her family around her, or friends. You never really felt the need for friends yourself; it was all about business for you. You had associates, that was all.

The service was short, as you’d requested; you were paying for it after all. It was subdued and people were quiet for the most part. Everyone was staring at you of course, and whispering about you, but you didn’t care. The police had been satisfied she’d taken her own life and there was no way you could be blamed for that. Everything was tasteful and properly solemn—tranquil.  At least until some woman you didn’t recognise at all started bawling just as the casket was wheeled out of the chapel. You looked over at her and frowned, then stood up and walked, upright and with dignity, behind the casket, ignoring the obnoxious woman and her companions, who were comforting her and making her worse. You hoped she wouldn’t follow the ceremony right to the grave site.

You didn’t need to worry though. As you stepped out on to the road to get into the limousine, which was, of course, on the wrong side of the road, you looked up under your umbrella just in time to see a familiar grey BMW hurtling towards you. You would have jumped out of the way but the face behind the wheel made you freeze in mid-step. A face, unusually pale, but beautiful, with blond hair and stunning green eyes, bright with hate and, strangely, laughter. It can’t be, was all you had time to think, before it was all over for you. When the car stopped, after it hit you and then hit the hearse behind you, there was no driver and there was a lot of speculation in the press as to who had been driving the car that ended your life. Even the best forensics were not able to find any prints or DNA apart from yours and your late wife’s and they eventually decided it must have rolled when you parked it; that in your grief you’d neglected to put the handbrake on.

The pathologist who cut the new suit from your body noticed the label; he also noticed your shoes and even your Calvin Klein underwear, blood soaked as it all was. It was his job to notice such things of course and, were you looking down on the procedure, you’d have been happy you’d been so well dressed for the occasion.

For more information on my books please visit my author page at Amazon.com or Amazon. UK.

 

Advertisements

Author: cmsgardnerblog

I'm a writer of fiction and non-fiction, for teens and adults. I live in Central Victoria, Australia and my books are available at https://www.amazon.com/author/christinemgardner and https://www.smashwords.com/interview/ChristineGardner

12 thoughts on “Writing Challenge–2nd person point of view

  1. I guess it might be hard to sustain through a whole book but I really like it. Especially the end – blood soaked Gucci undies,yes!

  2. 2nd person is definitely uncommon and potentially awkward when writing but SO effective! This is brilliant. I’m going to give it a try 🙂

    • 2nd person can work well in trauma. For example, a character has just fallen off a cliff and his bone is protruding from his leg. “You look down and see a white protrusion sticking out of your leg.” I have written a few stories in second person and they work ok, some better than others. The story “El Presidente” worked out ok, but I have others that worked very well indeed.

      • I agree that would work well, Frank. It’s more personal, isn’t it? I’m very dubious about a novel in the 2nd person though.

      • I don’t think you can write a whole novel in 2nd person. Do you think it is possible to write a small part of a novel in 2nd? I mean, I am not sure if in a novel you necessarily must stay in a certain POV.

  3. Definitely possible. I’ve written several novels with two different povs, 1st and 3rd. Not in the same chapter though; they’re kind of two related stories in the one book.

    • Do you do much stream-of-consciousness stuff? I’m always trying different things, I’m going linear plot with what I’m doing now, but my previous write was a collection of shorts that could be also read as a novel. I also have dabbled in metafiction (you expose the persona of the author to your readers, let them in on the creation process, John Fowles did a fair amount of that) . . . have you tried that?

      I’m still trying to get my first write published. I’ve sent it off to a couple of local publishers, no luck. I also write a lot of poetry. I think poetry is a great addition to the structure of prose. You know, good for imagery, hard and soft sounds, that kind of thing.

  4. No but I do think it’s great to try different things. I rather like the idea of different shorts that can be read as a novel. It’s very hard for new writers to find a publisher willing to take a risk on them but it’s easy to self-publish with Amazon.

    • Yes, my neighbour, who is a publisher, suggested Amazon. Well, right now, I am happy just to get anything in print. A small local magazine took a little short Christmas story and a poem of mine for their next issue. I was doing that NaWriMo thing (where you have to write 50,000 words in the month of November), but I got to 16,000 then burnt out. Oh well, that’s 16k more than when I started.

  5. I was so impressed by this technique that I decided to give it a go myself! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    https://thisisjesswrites.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/duvet-cocoon/

    Feedback greatly appreciated, the good, the bad, and the ugly 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s