1. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    Third person feels wooden

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FirstTimeNovelist91, Aug 8, 2012.

    Am I the only one who feels that third person POV oftentimes comes off as wooden? I feel as though I care more about the MC if it is from his/her perspective.

    How does one remedy this? I started my novel in first person present tense (don't judge!) and decided to go with third person past tense. It is currently 45k-46k long, and I've still have a bit to tell.
     
  2. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    You need to learn how to use close 3rd instead of just objective or far off 3rd. Don't know what I'm talking about?

    3rd person can feel just as up close and personal as 1st person, except you have more to work with. Not to mention, 3rd person is the most popular/sell able POV.

    When you don't dip into your characters thoughts or perceptions in any way in 3rd person, you're using an objective 3rd person POV. This is as far away as you can get in 3rd person. Then there's medium distance, where you describe your characters perception, but when you explain what he/she is thinking you TELL the reader. And then there's close POV where you give direct quotes of what your character is thinking, but you don't use tags like "he thought."

    If you still don't get it, try picking up some books on POV and you'll know what I mean.

    I love 3rd person, it's my favorite and it's the best lol.
     
  3. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    Thanks, but I guess I'm talking more about the actual writing style. I do describe thoughts, feelings, etc, but it doesn't feel as inspirational as other books I have come across.
     
  4. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    I would recommend that you read "How Fiction Works" by James Woods. This book is an exploration of techniques and approaches that great writers over the years have used to draw the reader into the story through the effective use of third person. This book is all about the very issues you are raising with your question.
     
  5. simina
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    simina Senior Member

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    Pretty much all of my favorite books are written in 3rd person. It definitely doesn't have to be wooden. And it's the most flexible tense; you can do pretty much anything with it.
     
  6. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    My favorite is close third past tense, and that is by far more common than first. Any of them can be done well, but first isn't often done well enough, and present even less so.

    Try taking a scene and writing it each way. Read up on the techniques and revise each to improve them. Then decide which fits you better.
     
  7. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    oops. How do you delete accidental double posts?
     
  8. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Third person is far from wooden, when done correctly. There's plenty of ways to get inside a character's head in that method. It juts takes practice and learning to art of how to change a first person thought into a third person to keep the reader "in the know"

    Probably not my best paragraph but here's one from the sequel I'm working on. Note the sentences that follow the first one. Each of them are thoughts, which have been transferred into third person.

    Melinda Palmer slammed multiple blows into the punching bag, each one stronger then the last, the aggressiveness coming from the situation she found herself in. Why’d they have bad news when she worked out? Every time a crisis appeared, someone interrupted her gym time. Today? No exception.

    The original thought was: Why do I always get bad news when working out? I changed it, and added to the thought, by placing it into third person. I can guarantee when a crisis breaks loose it's always when I have gym time! Never fails!


    The last sentences took that thought, changed them and built upon with the last two. So, third person can be open and flexible also
     
  9. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    Ah, okay. Unfortunately I don't think switching POV styles has a whole lot to do with "style" unless you're using a very specific style for story effect. So nevermind that.

    Style is the choice and flow of the words the author decides to use. As far as my research on writing fiction is concerned (I've done, and still do lots of research) style isn't something that can be "learned," it just happens on its own. A lot of professional novelists actually discourage trying to learn a writing style for several reasons. One of which is that it will never come out naturally. Another reason is, it curbs your writing dramatically when you focus on style.

    My advice to you is to not compare yourself with professional authors who've been writing for a very long time. Continue your own writing and don't focuse on style. Your own unique style will emerge in time, and it will be YOUR style, nobody else's.
     

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