1. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    Third Person Objective

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fox Favinger, Nov 12, 2009.

    I had a hard time finding anything related to this topic so forgive me if it just came up.

    I have a trilogy planned out after I finish the thriller I am writing. After having the story play out in my head and after seeing it on paper I realize that writing it in either Third Person Limited or Third Person Omniscient would ruin some of what I am trying to accomplish with the character development. In other words I do not want to write out what the characters are feeling or thinking, I simply want to tell the story as if the reader was watching through a camera lens.

    I can't recall any fiction written in Third Person Objective. Non-fiction is where I usually see it. Being that I read a lot of non-fiction I tend to like this perspective a lot.

    I want the reader to come to understand my MC through his actions. In the beginning I want the reader to buy into his deception and believe the other characters when they say he is a bad person. But by the end I want the reader to have observed the character through his reactions and what he does and piece together who he really is. I feel revealing all his true thoughts and feelings would make the story less fun and more predictable.

    This does sound like a challenge and will require careful skill in laying out the details, but I wouldn't have gotten into writing if it was easy. I'm curious to know other's experience with this perspective as my knowledge is pretty limited. Is this type of perspective considered less entertaining in fiction and that's why I never see it?
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It is third person omniscient, just with an objective narrator. Introspection is a big part of bringing readers to animate your characters, so a total lack of it will tend to make then seem flatter, though clever writing may be able to cover it well enough. The main problem with that kind of approach is that the reader may not be able to relate to the MC enough to really care about him at all. Its hard to offer any more advice without actually reading the manuscript though.
     
  3. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds exceptionally challenging. The only example I can think of is the gossip girl series, but I'm not sure since I've never read any of them(and never will). I think the author uses third person omniscient, or that's what I've heard.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Third person omniscient isn't all that uncommon, and besides, the narrative voice isn't the problem in itself, its only that it forces you to characterise in unconventional ways. You'll need to look at how it has been done well before, and I can't think of a better place to start than The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway and Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis.
     
  5. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    It sounds great for a short story and though I'd never say it wouldn't work for a novel, I do think it's risky. You can show what characters are feeling through their body language and actions, but eventually a character is going to surprise the reader and if it comes out of nowhere, a surprise could end up feeling way too arbitrary. The reader might feel betrayed if you don't approach this ever so cautiously.

    I have other concerns too. Basically I don't know how I would do this for a novel length piece and still have the reader feel like they were involved. Awesome dialogue and a focus on gestures and emotions is the best thing I can come up with.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Third person objective is a challenge. I experimented with something very close to it once for a short story here on the forum (Bitter Fruit). It was an exercise in writing a scene that revealed a character's feelings through observable actions only.

    Maintaining a true third person objective narrative over a longer piece would be very difficult. But I would encourage experimenting with it for a shorter piece. It's an enlightening exercise.
     
  7. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You know what, I think I'll try to check out those books.

    Because right now, this perspective makes the book seem like a movie without the moving pictures ie. the best part of a movie. One of the virtues of reading is being in the head of another character, thats what draws you in most of the time.

    I'd really like to find out if I could actually enjoy a book without that element. I doubt it, but I've been wrong before.
     
  8. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    That's basically how I plan to do it. Special attention will be placed on every subtle thing the characters do that expresses emotion.

    But I see the issue you bring up being a possibility as the MC is an emotionally unstable character and I plan on having a few outbursts of rage and well as compassion later in the story, though he maintains a cold calmness most of the time. To keep this seeming like a cheap twist I plan on dropping hints along the way of his compassion and emotional instability, so when an outburst does happen may have seen it as an inevitability.

    @Cog Short stories just aren't my thing anymore lol. Perhaps I'll just write the first chapter or maybe I could just dig up an old idea and force a short story.

    One more thing I should add. This novel is heavily action focused, and when the guns aren't a blazin' there's gonna be plenty of dialogue. Skipping over things like internal monologue could help make things move way faster.

    EDIT:

    @Arron I've always loved Hemingway and he's made me change the way I write in the past. I'll have to check out that book thanks!
     
  9. bruce
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    bruce Active Member

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    Yes it does which is why I prefer not to use this perspective when writing fiction. It's a key virtue and an edge over movies.
     
  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Why not have introspection and use an unrealiable narrator?
     
  11. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    Not my thing. Never enjoyed reading anything written like that.

    I've got a short planned out and I'm gonna try Third Person Objective on a smaller platform. I'll post it for critique. I'm also gonna read The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. I've always loved his works.

    Personally the challenge of it just makes me want to do it more. Like out of no where I started writing a short story with it. This might be my new thing lol
     

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