1. Maiesk
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    Maiesk Member

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    How do you get into the thoughts of a character in third-person?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Maiesk, Aug 21, 2014.

    Is it bad practice to simply document their thoughts as a part of the narrative? I want to highlight a character's struggle and how he reacts to what's going on around him, but I'm having difficulty doing so without entering his mind or having him blurt out how he feels. It feels cumbersome to try and show every change in expression and body language as he goes through a confusing process of adapting to new surroundings.

    How would you do it?
     
  2. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    In third person, I often like when the narrative puts the reader in the character's shoes by presenting the character's impression of something without filtering the impression through the character's reaction or thought monologue.

    Example:

    Instead of:

    _____ rolled herself up in her blanket and thought, this is so soft and warm, I bet clouds feel like this.

    Write:

    _____ rolled herself up in her toasty slice of a cloud known as a "blanket".

    Forgive the exaggerated cheesiness. You get the point.
     
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  3. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    If it's a close third, I've seen thoughts stated. For the POV character, you probably wouldn't show facial and body expressions. That's something a POV character would notice in another character.
     
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  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's fine to show thoughts in close third person. Random example:

    Jane opened the door and looked around. Sheesh. What a mess. Thank God the nephews had finally left town.
     
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  5. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    You can write as a first person of your character while it is written in third person.
     
  6. Maiesk
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    Maiesk Member

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    Thanks everybody. I didn't know much about close third but reading up about it it's exactly what I want for my story! :)
     
  7. BoddaGetta
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    BoddaGetta Active Member

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    Read some short stories or novels that use close third person to get a feel for the narrative flow of thoughts, description, and dialogue.

    I find close third person is similar to first person, without all the "I".
     
  8. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Funny, the second one seems a lot more distant to me, it's so focussed on the object and not on the person experiencing it.
     
  9. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which reminds me of something I was not thinking about when I wrote that: a character still can (and often should) react to something even when her impression of it is unfiltered.
     
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  10. ToDandy
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    ToDandy Contributing Member

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    Feeling, emotions, and your own writing voice can help you get into the readers head. First person usually helps as a springboard for learning how to do this naturally, because you [as the writer] assume everything written is from the POV.

    Third person really isn't all that different, especially if it is restricted 3rd person.

    ChickenFreak's example was great!

    Jane opened the door and looked around. Sheesh. What a mess. Thank God the nephews had finally left town.

    You don't need to say he/she thought. Trust your readers. They will be smart enough to figure out from the voice that this is the characters thoughts.
     
  11. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    So much can be implied. We really do have to trust that our readers are intelligent enough to figure it out.
     
  12. Devlin Blake
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    Devlin Blake Member

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    Deep third, or close third is probably the best way. The easiest way to write that is write the first draft as first person, then change it in the second draft.
     

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