1. ugu
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    ugu Member

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    Writing in Third Person

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ugu, May 28, 2008.

    Does anyone else have a problem with writing in third person? I do pretty good at writing in first person (especially if the narrator is also female), but that isn't the case when I write in third person. For some reason I just can't find the right voice throughout the story, let alone keeping it consistent.

    I've noticed I like books that can make readers feel like they're watching a movie, but my multiple attempts at producing something similar always fail.
     
  2. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    I actually write more comfortably in third-person.
    Then again, it all depends on whether first- or third-person fits your story better. If you're sure third-person is the one for you, you just need to practise. There's a seperate voice for every form of POV. Practise makes perfect, as they say. Just keep at it and give your voice and style time to develop.
     
  3. illuminati
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    illuminati Member

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    I agree with Lucy, although, consider the following: There's really VERY LITTLE difference between 1st and 3rd person. There's almost nothing that you can do in one view-point that you can't do in the other.

    Please allow me to demonstrate:

    I walked to the refrigerator to see if there was something I could munch on while waiting for the file to download. Nothing. Nada. I closed the fridge in disgust and moped back to my computer to check on the status of the file transfer. ‘Oh crap,’ I said when I saw the SERVER TIME OUT message glaring spitefully at me.

    Okay, I know that the above example is terrible, but it’s just an example.

    Now for a quick 3rd Person re-write…

    John walked to the refrigerator to see if there was something he could munch on while waiting for the file to download. Nothing. Nada. He closed the fridge in disgust and moped back to his computer to check on the status of the file transfer. ‘Oh crap,’ he said when he saw the SERVER TIME OUT message glaring spitefully at him.


    It just takes a little mind-shift to jump between the two. You could begin by writing what comes naturally, and then just modifying it as required, for example changing I to he/she, etc.


    Hope this helps…
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Third person is much more flexible, in my opinion, and also promotes better writing. You are more encouraged to show what people are feeling, and not only the MC, by actions and words, and can shift focus between characters more seamlessly.

    On the other hand, first person can work better if you really want to taell a story from one person's perspective, including his or her incorrect impressions to be adjusted later. This makes it a favored perspective for mystery writers, because so much of it cemters around what that character perceives and surmises with the facts currently at hand.

    For general fiction, I recommend third person unless you really want to spend much of your story seeing only one character's shifting perceptions.
     
  5. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    But you can also maintain the mystery/suspense with third person limited, or just by only using certain POVs.
     
  6. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I find it nearly impossible to write in first person. I've tried as a general exercise. I just find it too limiting. Most of my work is in multi-perspective third limited.
     
  7. Anomally
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    Anomally Member

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    Both third person and first person have their merits, especially when you want to convey information of certain types, but I agree with Romantic Rose that first person can be rather constricting if you're not used to writing it, while I feel that third person loses the personal feel. Knowing everything somehow removes the slight "warmth" from the writing that first person adds.

    Lately, I've started like first person over third, because, in my novel, it is very important to see the story from my MC's eyes, to see his reactions, the very easy for the reader to see what he thinks and fears, and not from some distant narrator watching down on everything from above.

    ~ Anomally
     
  8. Al B
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    Al B Senior Member

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    Thing you have to be careful with when writing third person, is not to confuse your 'God's eye view' of things with the viewpoint of your character. For example, if I write about a room crammed full of people, and mention someone over by the window wearing a glittering necklace, then write that someone who enters the room was dazzled by that necklace, how could they be dazzled by it from where they are standing when the room is full of people? Things like that can trip you up in third person.

    Al
     
  9. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I write both. I wrote a whole novel in first person, and now I'm writing a third person and first person (mix) novel. So it's about what work with your novel best, how you carry the style and practice. Also, reading books with third-person perspective can be helpful too.
     

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