1. DeathandGrim
    Offline

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Virginia Beach

    Style 3rd Person(ality) narrator

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DeathandGrim, Nov 6, 2015.

    So I was reading a new book, Blood Rights, I just got as part of a 3 part series. And I like it so far. But one of the main things that stood out to me was the narration. It felt like it had a lot more personality than what I was used to. It felt like it was being told by someone other than the usual omniscient narrator who knows it all and tells it all. Here's an excerpt:

    It was fun to read actually. I always thought that the 3rd person narrator was to be the one who knew the whole story, but this one was tossing out judgements and insults and some swearing and even asking questions at some points about parts of the plot or character intention. They seem to be an entirely different character who's along for the ride rather than the all knowing one already knowing what's going to happen. It gives the story itself a personality.

    I don't wanna seem too vanilla here but this broke convention for me. I liked it and thought back to my own 3rd person narrations in which I rarely break the omniscient view and actually interact with the reader, like at all. I had this constraint on my mind that they were supposed to be strictly storytellers from an objective viewpoint.

    But am I wrong here? How much personality do you/should you put into 3rd person narration?
     
    xanadu likes this.
  2. Imaginarily
    Offline

    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2015
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    596
    As much as you want.

    If it works for you, do it. If it doesn't work for you, don't do it. I think the most important part is to write in a style where you're comfortable and confident.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,910
    Likes Received:
    5,437
    This sounds like close third person, where you have only the knowledge that your POV character (apparently Tatiana) has, and the narration may reflect the thoughts and feelings of that POV character.
     
  4. DeathandGrim
    Offline

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    I really like it as a style. What are your thoughts on it?
     
  5. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,910
    Likes Received:
    5,437
    It's my preferred POV, both in writing and in reading. Third person omniscient is too lordly and distant for me; first person is too cute and close. I can accept any of them, but close third is my preference.
     
    Haze-world, Tesoro, xanadu and 2 others like this.
  6. xanadu
    Offline

    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    407
    Location:
    Cave of Ice
    Nope, you're not wrong. In my opinion, I'd say put as much personality as you possibly can, for exactly the reason you described--it's fun to read.

    Objective storytelling is boring. It's dry. It reads like a summary with no character. When the narration is colored by the main character's biases and POV you really get to know that character, way better than dry description could ever do. It puts you in the scene instead of on the sidelines. It makes you experience the world instead of being told about it.

    This is the kind of narration I always try to incorporate, and when writing 3rd I really think it's the best choice unless you have a very specific goal in mind. Reader involvement is never a bad thing.

    But it's definitely not a break in convention. As @ChickenFreak said, it's close 3rd, or as some call it 3rd limited (versus 3rd omniscient), which is a perfectly valid POV option.
     
  7. PrincessSofia
    Offline

    PrincessSofia Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    48
    It looks like the narrator in Jane the Virgin ( a tv show where a narrator explains some of the characters feelings, with use of flashbacks etc, but sometimes say stuff such as "Don't ask me, I'm as clueless as you.) with my current project I do that a little. I put some of the feelings and thoughts or backstory of some characters, but not everything. Or sometimes make judgments about some character or hus actions
     
  8. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    That is my favourite too. Both to read and to write.
     
  9. Commandante Lemming
    Offline

    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    1,000
    It's a very, very tight Third Person Limited POV where the narration functions as the character's internal monologue at times. I write like that and sometimes it weirds people out but once they get into it they like it.

    It's conventional in that Third Person Limited is the dominant form in modern fiction - it's unconventional in the sense that it's tighter than normal.

    As for convention, if you're writing in traditional third-person-limited, your storyteller is NOT objective. Generally you have access to the mind of only one character - so that character's point-of-view changes everything in terms of how the reader views the story. The example you cited is particularly tight third person limited, but every instance of that form is going to have a definite shading in favor of the point of view character - because their biases are the only biases we can see. Whether that bias is merely described or actually leaks into the authorial voice is just a stylistic choice

    If you're writing in Third Person OMNISCIENT, then you have a storyteller who is a theoretical separate entity detached from the characters (but who can see into all of their heads). That narrator can be objective - or not.

    If you can't see into anyone's head and you're essentially writing from the point of view of a camera lens - then you're in Third Person CINEMATIC. That's generally discouraged unless you really have a good reason.
     
    DeathandGrim likes this.

Share This Page