First Person Narrator: Sorry I’m late.
Second Person Narrator: You could have called.
Third Person Narrator: [motioning for drinks to be served] Everyone got here in the end. That’s enough.
First Person Narrator: Right. I’d like to call this meeting to order.
Second Person Narrator: Of course you would.
Third Person Narrator: [shaking head] There they are, squabbling within the first 30 seconds! The charter said this was supposed to be a supportive and encouraging writer’s group for everybody.
First Person Narrator: Really? That’s not how I read it.
Second Person Narrator: Course not. You think everything is about you.
First Person Narrator: Well, I’m the most popular form of narrator for first-time novelists, so it generally starts with me, which makes it all about me, as far as I’m concerned.
Third Person Narrator: [slurping with relish] A wise man once said: he who encourages the growth of others, grows most within himself.
Second Person Narrator: You call that wise? Surely you mean irrelevant?
First Person Narrator: Could everyone who isn’t me please shut up? Now, as I recall, last time I suggested that we should prepare an emotional piece about writing.
Second Person Narrator: You didn’t suggest. You demanded.
First Person Narrator: Did I?
Second Person Narrator: You think that you’re the boss. But you’re not. Even you should know that second person narration is the imperative. Without second-person narration, you lose the majority of the textbooks that educate your children.
First Person Narrator: Well, I don’t know that. So not everybody knows that.
Second Person Narrator: That’s because you’re so caught up in yourself. You have the most limited knowledge of any of us about what’s going on. But of course, you can’t even see that.
Third Person Narrator: The task this week was very difficult. It wasn’t easy to create an emotional voice in the third person. Not to mention the fact that when a writer writes about writing, it can sound terribly self-indulgent.
First Person Narrator: I didn’t have a problem with it.
Second Person Narrator: Well, you wouldn’t, would you?
First Person Narrator: [ignoring Second Person Narrator] One minute, I was looking inside myself, wondering what I thought about my writing process – and the next minute, I had written sixty pages about my childhood, without moving a muscle, or any time having passed at all.
Third Person Narrator: [slapping the table] But isn’t that the problem? Nobody wants to read a story where nothing actually happens.
Second Person Narrator: Exactly. You need proper characterisation, and action, and jeopardy. There’s no jeopardy when you stay inside your own head.
First Person Narrator: But why would I want an arbitrary plot, when my view of the world is so fascinating?
Third Person Narrator: Readers need some sort of a sense of the narrator in relation to the world around them, and to other people. Without that, there is no story. And that wasn’t the only problem with this assignment. There’s no tension in writing about writing.
First Person Narrator: I’m used to people feeling jealous of me. If I’d come in here with a measly one-pager, I’d probably feel a bit useless too.
Third Person Narrator: At least a third-person narration can tell an actual story. Even that measly one-pager has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Three narrators met up to talk about writing. They argued, and to their great surprise, ended up dead. Third person narration told that story start to finish, and even reached a conclusion at the end. A first person narrator’s story would have died with them.
First Person Narrator: I can tell a story just as well as the next guy!
Second Person Narrator: Only if you risk it reading like a boring monologue. Now, a second person narrator – that’s how you grab your reader by the throat. You haul your reader into the story like they’re the only person in the world worth talking to.
First Person Narrator: Yeah, right. Even I know that second person narrators are notoriously difficult to maintain throughout an entire story. I remember my first writing class – it was a cold January day, and I was wearing purple crushed velvet and my mysterious grandmother’s amethyst brooch. It was just before I met Oscar, before I knew what love was, and before I knew what loss was too – anyway, my writing teacher told me that second person narrations are often considered contrived and irritating.
Second Person Narrator: You’re contrived and irritating. Besides, if you’re not able for it, you shouldn’t do it. It doesn’t mean that other people aren’t better at it than you.
Third Person Narrator: This is getting repetitive and tedious. Something needs to happen, and fast.
Suddenly, a bunch of stereotypical gangsters burst into the room with high calibre assault rifles. They shoot all three narrators in the head, before realising that they’ve hit the wrong targets. Horrified and guilt-ridden, they then shoot themselves.
Omniscient Third Person Narrator: The End.