1. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    My confusion pains me. Okay, another PoV thread

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jwatson, Mar 5, 2010.

    Alright, I apologize in advance. I know these forums don't need anymore PoV threads, but I just don't understand. I have searched, and I have read, and here I am.
    This is with regards to third person limited.

    What is the difference between

    and
    So, third limited. James's perspective. He feels the soft, rush of wind. Right.

    As you can see, I am just hands down confused. I think my problem is that I over think third person limited. I just don't understand: am I supposed to just write EVERYTHING in terms of what James experiences? If yes, then my second example would always be wrong?

    Again, sorry, I know these types of threads come up often. I did use the search tool and I did not find exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for your time.

    J
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No need to apologize. You have asked for technical assistance, and you shall have it.

    In the 3rd P. limited, yes, the narrator will only tell us things within the scope of knowledge of just one person. In your examples, if James is unable to see or is unaware of the flutter of paper on Seth's desk, then the narrator is not going to tell us about that phenomenon. We the readers will only know what James knows.

    The 3rd P limited is similar to the 1st P. in the limitation of knowledge set to which you may refer in the storytelling.

    Now, with that said, I am sure that there will be any number of posts after mine to the tune of, "Do what you like, it's your story, don't let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do!" But if you wish to remain true to the POV, then...
     
  3. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    So then, the first example I gave would be the most correct in the case of third limited? James knows the papers fluttered because he can see them, and he knows why, because he felt the rush of wind on his back. I hope I'm thinking about this the right way.

    And thank you Wreybies, I was stalking my thread hoping for a response as soon as possible :p
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No. Either one can be third person limited. I'm assuming the second one is written from James' perspective too, and that they both describe the same moment two different ways.

    The difference is, the first example is James focusing on James, but the second is placing the reader in James' shoes. You can, in fact, use either one, but it's better if the second type of observation dominates your narrative.

    The second form also works better for first person narrative. It's even more important in first person to reduce the explicit references to the POV character - the dreaded "I ... I ... me ... I", but it's a good principal to follow in any intimate POV.

    You do need to use James' name periodically to make sure the reader knows on whom the focus lies. In particular, do so near the beginning of a scene to establish the POV. If your entire story is from James' POV, you needn't do it as often, though, and this is how third limited can approach first person in intimacy.

    Look outward rather than inward whenever possible, to let the reader BE James.
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    If you're writing consistently in third person limited, it will be assumed that anything you describe is being described as though from the narrated character's perspective. It's important that you realise that as a writer though. Just because you are not using the narrated character's name, it does not mean that the narrative's focus has shifted, and your writing should reflect this (ie be consistent with the rest).
     
  6. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Well, that certainly clears up my confusion. Thank you all so much, this was very helpful. Just the information I was looking for.

    J
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Apologies if this has been covered, but I couldn't find the answer here either.

    I have the same problem describing people's expressions sometimes. Let's say the girl blushes or turns pale. If I'm using her POV, I feel compelled to change to the other character's POV at that point. It's annoying going back and forth, though.

    So I get:

    She felt her cheeks grow warm. (Her POV)
    He saw a soft flush rise in her cheeks. (His POV)
    A soft flush rose in her cheeks. (His/omniscient POV)

    Sorry for the disgustingly cheesy examples, but I'm not at my best first thing in the morning!
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you need to show the reaction, don't wander out of your POV to do so. The first of your choices is therefore the best. Better yet would be:

    Her cheeks grew warm. (Her POV, omit the sensory reference)
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good, thanks a lot.
     
  10. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Yep, yep, totally agree with Cog, he's right. She wouldn't be able to see her face turn red, so third example would not do it.
     
  11. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    Better still, have her feeling her cheeks grow warm, and worry if it's making her make-up shine.
     
  12. MsMyth71
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    MsMyth71 Senior Member

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    The second example is not wrong, it just has no psychic closeness with James. James can still observe the papers rustling, but he doesn't HAVE to feel something about it. Just because the "camera" is on his shoulder does not mean that he has to interact with everything. He can be an objective/neutral observer some of the time.

    If you had an entire book with the second example, then it would be 3rd person w/o the limit (omnicient, though not dipping into anyone's head). If you had half "zoomed out" like the second example and half "zoomed in" like the first, it would still be considered (on a whole) a 3rd person limited.

    I hope that makes sense!
     

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