Monday, June 4, 2012

You're in Action

From the Speakers: SAIL by Awolnation
Just Read: THIRD GIRL by Agatha Christie--Awesome! I've been really into detective stories lately, and this one was great. And I saw the end coming! Honest! I did!

You know I really don't like second person very much.

The fine people over at Liquid Imagination published my story DYING AGAIN this week. It's a flash fiction story written in second person about a man at the end of his umpteenth life, remembering back on them all. It's the . . . third second-person flash fiction story I've published. The other two are TEN STORIES UP, TEN YEARS LATER and A SHORT WALK IN THESE HERE WOODS (which was published in print only in Barbaric Yawp).

I took an intermediate level fiction writing class in college, and this girl wrote a story in second person, and man I feel a bit bad but I hated it. I kind of hope she's not reading this (but if you are, leave a comment! You know who you are haha). I thought that it got a bit tiring reading second person for so many pages; it was trying to be too dramatic when it should have just told a story. I got the vibe that the second person aspect was sort of the point of the story rather than the story itself.

My professor didn't agree in the least.

And THEN, a semester or two later, we had this contest called the Mini-Max, for creative writing students to submit flash fiction. I sat down trying to write something for it. Nothing really came. Pondered, pondered, nothing . . . . I started typing aimlessly, no story in mind, just knowing that I wanted it to be in the horror genre. The result turned out to be a second person flash story: A SHORT WALK IN THESE HERE WOODS.

It was the first second person piece I'd ever tried. It didn't change my opinion of second person, but I did enjoy the story. It was short enough that I got through it without getting annoyed.

And the kicker is it placed fourth in the contest! I got to read it in front of a small crowd and got a book of flash fiction as a prize (and an all-important credit--my story placed in a college contest!). It was, as I mentioned, later published.

This brief bit of success led me to try my hand at some other second person flashes, particularly when it's Sunday night and my W1S1 for that week doesn't exist. And now I've published three of them.

Maybe I have something going here?

But just because I seem to be kind of good at it doesn't mean I have to like it. Not saying I won't write another if one occurs to me, but three flash pieces almost adds up to a short story, and that's too much second person, after all.


  1. Enjoyed your story quite a bit (I've always pondered the theme, wondering how I would spend such an existence -- don't want to give anything away), and I think 2nd person gets a bad rap. It can be done well, as you've shown. And way to go on meeting your May W1S1 goals!

  2. Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed it. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff, as well.

  3. Great story, Devin! Very powerful... 'perhaps next time, we'll know that the old ways were good ways'