1. Smoke Z
    Offline

    Smoke Z Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    36

    How to deal with third person limited...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Smoke Z, Jan 6, 2015.

    Actually, I can't find the technical term for the narrator standing just in the shadows as an invisible that can't read anyone's minds.

    Basically that's the perspective I'm trying to use... someone watching a performance where the play doesn't break for navel-gazing.

    How do I get into the character's heads when I as the narrator am acting as a fly on the wall? The people I'm trying to impress keep complaining that they can't get into my character's heads when I don't want them there.
     
  2. Mike Kobernus
    Offline

    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Norway
    How about you simply write in third person, from the perspective of one character, per scene. That way, although you are in THAT person's head, you are not in every head.

    In this way, you can control which character becomes transparent to the reader, and when.

    Each scene needs to be thought out, to choose the right character for the POV, of course.

    My preference is generally, 3rd person POV. But I always choose the MC in any scene he is in, unless of course, he is sleeping or unconscious. Then it defaults to the next major character.

    But maybe it would work with a secondary character, observing the MC….

    Just a thought...
     
  3. Chroa
    Offline

    Chroa New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2
    It's also called 3rd Person Objective, or the 'Dramatic Point of View'. It's typically found in playwriting and screenwriting (the latter of which I'm very familiar with).

    I think it could work if you use it in prose fiction. It's not a strict rule to keep to any one character's viewpoint (or even any viewpoint style in general) for a certain time. Of course, not going by the conventions will make it harder to execute, but there's always a little risk when trying something different.

    If it's anything like screenwriting, you have to make sure that what the characters say and do is interesting enough to make readers pay attention. Of course, in TV/film scripts, you can have voiceovers (and asides in plays) to reveal inner thoughts, but I don't quite know how you'd translate that into fiction while staying purely in 3rd Person Objective.

    Basically, if you do use 3PO, you have to be even more careful to convey attitudes, feelings, and themes through, for lack of better terms, the choreography/staging, setting, and dialogue.
     
    TWErvin2 and Mike Kobernus like this.
  4. Glasswindows
    Offline

    Glasswindows Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    3
    The idea of using such a style is that nobody needs to know what's on their mind and is dependent in their own interpretation of action. You said you don't want them there. That's it. Unless the whole story is pointless in its current style. The readers can be wrong too. Is it only their expectation to get into their heads or are they not getting anythiong out of it?
     
  5. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,646
    Likes Received:
    5,124
    I agree with GlassWindows - you're telling us "people I'm trying to impress keep complaining that they can't get into my character's heads when I don't want them there." If you don't want the reader in the characters' heads, then... there's no way to be both in the heads and not in the heads at the same time, right?

    So, I'd say you need to ask yourself how much you want to impress these people, compared to how much you want to keep readers out of your characters' heads. If this is an artistic pursuit for you and you want to be true to your vision, that's one answer. If you want to be published and have lots of readers, that's another answer. I'm not saying it's impossible to achieve both of these goals, but it'll be more difficult.
     
  6. NiallRoach
    Offline

    NiallRoach Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    274
    Location:
    The middle of the UK
    In the same of solidarity, OP, I write the same way.
    Straight up telling readers how characters feel isn't the only way to shine a light onto their motivations. Personally, I combat this by writing very dialogue heavy, and letting their attitudes come through with that.

    It's also possible that the people whom you've given it so far just aren't the kind of people that can get behind that style. You may be writing as brilliantly as it's possible to write, but if they need to be in a character's head to enjoy the story, it's not going to work for them.
     
  7. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada
    My basic understanding is readers like to relate to someone in the story on an emotional level. Not just watch a passive existence of characters as they move around. I think what you readers may be saying is "I'm bored, when does the story start".
     
  8. Smoke Z
    Offline

    Smoke Z Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    36
    That's part of the problem with them. A lot of their stories are either completely objective or have huge chunks where you assume they are irritated because they're complaining. There was even a journal entry written by a character who was stated to have absolutely no personality, and it showcased his room-mate wonderfully, but at the end all we learn about the journal character could have been said by an observer.

    Then again, I think it was just the one person who hated it.
     
  9. Glasswindows
    Offline

    Glasswindows Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    3
    Nothing will stop people from relating to another. Even when someone's feelings or thoughts aren't brought up, there is always room for suspect in everything a person does. There's something behind everything.
     
  10. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Why don't you post it in the workshop for critique? Right now I don't know if it's your writing that's failing, or if the problem lies elsewhere.

    Additionally, is there any reason why you don't want readers in the characters' heads? How does using the objective POV serve the story? Because if it doesn't, any other non-objective POV is usually easier to write and easier to engage the reader with.
     

Share This Page