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Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

I am starting my first storygame and the ideas for the plot and characters are coming along fine. My problem is that I normally pick third person omniscient for most of my writing. But in the context of a storygame, I am, for whatever reason defaulting to second person when I write. I can't consciously pick which one I wanna do. Should I go with my instincts or my usual preference? 'Cause it will really effect the mood of the game.

Also, what is your preference with writing in this context?

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

I recommend you use a third person point of view. Like you stated above, you're more familiar in that style of writing and therefore more comfortable. Third person is less objective than first and second person, and should be easier to write in. It's less claustrophobic, more immediate, and would allow you to have more freedom. In third person, you have more pronouns: he, she, him, her, his, hers, it, they, them, they're, and their; while second person is mainly the pronouns: you, your, yours, and you're. With those limited pronouns, writers often make the mistake of overusing one of the pronouns (especially at the beginning of a sentence.) It also makes more space for situational irony, which is hard to insert in a second person form of writing. :)

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

I agree. I like the power of being able to go into peoples thoughts and then have the narrator come back in the next paragraph. 

The only thing I like about second person, is that potential immersion factor. But I feel it takes away from the autonomy of the character. I feel like second person only works if the character is dumb-as-a-post character, silent protagonist, or flat. The reader can then plug in.

I'm just dealing with the shift of knowing that the reader is going to be deciding the actions of this character, but he will very much have his own mind and moral judgment, and moral judgement is definitely gonna be a factor later in the game.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago
>I feel like second person only works if the character is dumb-as-a-post character, silent protagonist, or flat. The reader can then plug in.

Not really? I mean the vast majority of the stories in the site are in second person. You're just describing what is known as 'bad writing', which has nothing to do with the POV used.

E: looks like you haven't actually read many stories here at all yet. I'd recommend a few of the Top Rated ones if you're wanting an idea of the possibilities. And also, because they're just enjoyable to read.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago
Second person, present tense is traditional for CYOAs but it's not like it's a requirement. It's entirely up to personal preference so just use whatever you feel works best for the story.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

All I can say is that a lot of the top scoring stories use second person.  EndMaster's works are almost entirely (if not entirely) comprised of 2nd person narrative.  That being said, it's something you have to work on to write in that style, and as it's already been suggested, reading some of the top stories is a good way to go.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago
She hasn't logged in in a week, I doubt she's following this. Shame because I wanted to see where she got her weird ideas about second person meaning badly written characters from.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

Probably from the people who don't think that CYOA format is good for anything but amusing children.  *shrugs*

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

I havn't logged on in a while cause I usually don't use my computer at home. And I am getting use to working 5 days in a row again. Kinda weird when you get use to two days on then two days off. Also, this site got blocked at work, which is a crying shame. 

I don't think that second person is bad writing. And dumb as a post heroes and blank slate characters are a form for exactly what I said: to bring the reader in (any reader). It's just that most authors apparently suck at doing it well and therefore it is considered bad writing. Additionally, if you have ever played video games, you have the silent protagonist. Mario has been this on many occasions, especially in Super Mario RPG. And that game was awesome, he just acted out what he needed to say and then there was the one to explain everything that he was saying if he needed to talk. Crono in Chrono Trigger was a silent protagonist and that game turned out to be the best RPG of all time in many peoples eyes. It's definitely one of my favorites.

To further this 'unique' perspective: I have started reading Endmaster's Eternal and ........I hate it. I deplore it because of the slight issues it has. Some of it is just personal preference. It appears to be a crapsack universe but we are told that it is more than shown (as least as far as chapter two, BTW I am not going to count the main character's preferred deranged actions solely toward this). Mainly because the hero never seems to hit up the local tavern. He sits his but next to the Emperor and kisses it all day long. The protagonist is VERY unlikable (too unlikable, making me feel that I would not make ANY of those options). That could be the point, but he must be the only one that is programed because every other character so far, laughs at him for being so gosh darn brainwashed. I'm beginning to think he is the only one that is. Once again, that could be the point. But somehow, I don't think so. The Empire is supposed to be crumbling. The grammar may not be wrong, but the writting lacks something, a spark maybe. The characters develop way too fast, there is no time for the main character to learn what humor is for instance. Its subtle things like that. The magic is not consistently described. In the first chapter, the main character could cast on the drop of a dime, but later on during the caravan attack, he suddenly has to focus, and think about it. The writing is on consistent and it is very jarring. The universe, characters, world-building, and magic are underdeveloped, and it shows.

I will finish reading and have a better review. Those above are just my initial impressions. 

As far as reading other second person sources? I have read a few. Overall, the second person does offer itself to be the more superior style for this. The only good one so far on here is Dungeon Stompage! But I will start keeping a list for this thread if any of you would like. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step!

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

+1 For mentioning Chrono Trigger.

Sorry to hear you're not liking Eternal.  The protagonist is slightly more likable in other paths, but I don't think EndMaster's intention was for him to be overly likable.  But he would speak better to his intentions than I would.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago
I mean, the character literally is brainwashed. From birth.

Personally, a game that's more specifically a 'game' like Dungeon Stompage is one thing, but when it comes to stories I don't have much interest in reading about blank, passive, emotionless mannequins. Thankfully I can't think of too many actual examples of well received games like that, but it sounds boring, and mainly I don't think I could stretch suspension of disbelief that far.

You sound like you may have strong opinions about loving or hating a story for X or Y aspect, and while I wouldn't go that far I would consider a piece of fiction heavily flawed if the protagonist lacked any personality or depth. 'Well developed characters' is one of those fundamental aspects of a story like setting and conflict that you can't really do away with. Your example of Mario pretty much proves my point since it's not like like the series is exactly remembered for its compelling plot and gripping emotions.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago
If you want a story from end with a good person as a protagonist, try Death Song. I agree with you that Eternal isn't the friendliest protagonist around (especially not in the struggle path, which I'm assuming is what you took). And yes, I also like stories where I can relate to the protagonist a bit more. But it's also interesting to read about completely different people in different situations, doing things that you would never even think of doing. You are the hero in many games, it's sometimes interesting to be a villain, like in Necromancer.
As far as magic goes, most of the time you're just casting simple fireballs to kill people. If I remember right, during the caravan attack, you actually freeze your surroundings, which would of course require more power, so you'd have to focus.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago
I feel like I spent more time than intended disagreeing with you in the first post. I actually do agree that Eternal is an INCREDIBLY flawed story, it's just that the issue isn't in second person. At the end of the day, POV is a purely stylistic choice and has nothing to do with plot or characters.

As someone who's read Eternal a lot more recently than I have (I mean, I'm assuming I can take your word for that even if you didn't rate it) I'm curious why you think it was written that way? Like, what kind of mental damage or moral failings would you guess the author had?

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

So I finally got to read this, and, well, all I can think is that you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t get me wrong, Dungeon Stompage is very good, but pretty much everything else you said was quite arguable and/or strongly biased based upon  your personal preference. 

I would go into more detail, and still might do so, but I’m just gonna leave it that for now.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

I agree that it was good to see a mention of Chrono Trigger, a forgotten RPG masterpiece, in my opinion.  In early RPGs, the silent protagonist was quite common.  In Shining in the Darkness, you only ever select Yes or No answers for the otherwise silent protagonist.  In fact, the game is shown from his point of view, so you never even see him in the game.  Only the concept art in the game box and manual shows us what he's supposed to look like.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago
A game is still a completely different thing from an interactive novel. (There are other factors like 'gameplay' that take center stage, a story is more of a bonus. Although the most memorable games are those with a focus on storytelling.) Your storygame was more of a game too for that matter so it was fine that the emphasis was on the puzzles, although you did take the time to establish a motivation for the protagonist and the overall voice for the story was consistent.

It's just that 'click link' or 'click another link' are as far as interactivity goes in a CYOA, so the writing HAS to be good to carry it. (See that recent 'arena' game that was just clicking to make numbers change with no plot attached. Everyone struggled to get through it and it may have even been unpublished for low ratings by now. Meanwhile it sounds like Shy would find it an enthralling masterpiece.)

Although I do think it's possible to do either a silent protagonist or a story in third person omniscient, they're both styles that are difficult to do well and that the plot has to built around from the ground up. Silent protagonists, even in story heavy games are notably completely passive. There's no true interactivity in the plot (IF games being the notable exception although even then if often boils down to 'which order would you like to do things in...only one advances the plot') no character agency, character development etc. It's the NPCs that get the actual stories, you just press buttons to progress it.

I think the main reason Shyshaiea is getting so much resistance is because of her puritanical views on this stuff. She's come to a site full of stories and declared that they all suck because of [very specific and not very important thing that only matters to her, and matters a LOT].

I don't see anyone saying third person omniscient, or first person equals and automatically terrible POV to write a story in (even though third person is weird, just weird and schizophrenic and I don't think anyone has known how to do it since the 1800s...), because it's insane to leave the entire weight of 'good' or 'bad' on what is ultimately just a stylistic thing. And I'm not even sure where to begin when it comes to things like 'having an interesting and realistic character with depth, personality and agency and a character arc to develop them further is awful and it SUCKS'.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

An author could write a story in which the main character can and does speak, but the author never tells us what the character is actually saying.  That would be your classic silent protagonist, and yes, it would get old pretty fast, I admit, especially if we're told what everyone else is saying.

I suppose if you're writing in the second person, the justification for this would be that since the main character is you, the reader, then, well, you know what you'd say in that circumstance.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago
Thinking about it, CYOAs do in a way offer a cheat there you can't have in a regular story. The player can be directly asked what they want to do and then it's possible to essentially skip the next scene, the part where the character actually makes the decision and their motivation and explanation for it, how the other characters respond, etc. Although a heavy reliance on that may make a story start to feel a little disjointed.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

That seems to me to be the appeal of the CYOA story.  It's up to you to decide what the protagonist would do, since the protagonist is you.  Presumably you're going through all that decision making in your head as you come to the end of the page... unless you're just randomly clicking links to get to the end.  Eventually, the cumulative effect of your choices defines the character.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago
Again, if we're talking about a story, not a game that exists to be won, I tend to choose what seems to be the most logical thing to do based on the character's personality and circumstances established by the author. If I like the characters, I want them to succeed, or at least fail in some spectacular but still in character fashion. The point of 2nd person to me is that it puts me directly inside the protagonist's head.

If I don't care about the characters at all because the author obviously doesn't either, I'll default to the more ridiculous options, basically making them do the stupidest things possible and just searching for fucked up death endings or or other things to amuse me. Already there's a level of separation there and I'm now enjoying the story only on the meta level. If the story fails to even entertain in that manner, THEN it's blind clicking time.

Even if I'm nudging the protagonist in one direction or another (ruthless vs kind, strong vs intelligent, a friendship or a rivalry with another character, etc) I still expect there to BE a protagonist. Unless we're going the generic amnesiac route, there's no such thing as a blank slate. The character grew up somewhere, around specific people, having specific experiences that all influenced who they are and what they know. They are not the player. (I think it goes without saying that a nerd sitting at a computer reading a story has very different life experiences and views on the world than a private detective from the 20s or a specific historical figure or an assassin or a warlord or a wizard...) It would be difficult to write a single page without their voice and thoughts on the things they're experiencing coming through.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

I am still torn on second person vs third. I even had a debate about it with my husband. It was a fun two hours (as always.) It came down to this: My question should have been about whether I want my character should be fully autonomous and have the reader be able to know his thoughts, or more of a plug-in character where you guide his actions closely. Naturally, the former lends more toward third person (in my opinion), and the latter lends more toward second person.

After the debate, I had settled on third person once again.

But, after a few days sitting on it, as I come up with details for the story, I feel that I should do second person. This would give me a good opportunity to try it out. It just sounds better in the CYOA environment. 

Additionally, this has become a great discussion! Thank-you for your input!

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

I have considered doing something like that, similar to the silent protagonist. You, the player, select everything they say/ask in a dialog tree. Its ridiculously common in games, especially in the classical adventure style like Quest for Glory.

Those types are kinda becoming my inspiration for my current work(The Age of 24). Although, my character is autonomous, has a background, and can speak. So, if there are dialogue trees, it will be by subject.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

Yes, a story with nothing but exposition would be dreadful. I am not so much saying I would make a silent protagonist; simply that it has been done successfully in the past. 

A satire where the narrator cannot hear any of the characters could be hilarious. At least for one page/scene as a fourth wall joke where the audio went out.

Second Person or Third Person Omniscient?

2 years ago

I guess I missed the part where I said all second person view stories suck and that therefore all stories on this site suck. My views are not 'puirtanical'. What you are refering to (silent protagonis) and all that were EXAMPLES! Just on my initial FEELINGS. I am well aware many great works have been done in that style: The whole CYOA franchise in fact. I have read a few of them and enjoyed the concept immensely, which is one of the reasons I am here. I also love games. All sorts of games. Classic clickable adventure, pen-and-paper D&D, board games, story games, any game in between. They all have different balance of story vs game and character development vs plot. I in NO WAY EVER intended to say that a story or game had to be good ONLY if it was written in the third person. Just wanna put that out there.

I am 36 years old, I have seen and read many things. I am new here, yes. I get crazy thougths and ideas, yes. But, I am also very flexible and can always change my mind.

Once again, I never thought that second person stories games SUCK (on perspective alone).

PS. I will finish my review of Eternal on maybe another thread as that is a whole nother thing, that is not dependent on the perspective it is told from.