1. lowcarb

    lowcarb New Member

    Oct 3, 2018
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    Question of a three-person limited perspective.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lowcarb, May 6, 2019.

    Question of a three-person limited perspective. Can I use the author's voice from this point of view? I am writing sentences that are described from the point of view of the character.When you look at it, the author feels like a ghost that exists in the back of the story.
    Of course I don't think it's bad at all. But I'd like to give you a sense of individuality, so that you can see that it's my writing.
    Please recommend a work for your reference or give us some advice.
    jannert likes this.
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    El Tembloroso Caribe
    3rd person limited, by definition, means that the 3rd person narrator is beholden to the POV character. The narrator in this setup only ever reports that which is knowable or engageable by the POV character. Though the writer's style will be evident, the main constraint in this POV, as it also is with 1st person POV, is that narrative intrusion (you the writer, making your presence evident on the page) must be guarded against, otherwise you slip into a kind of muddy 3rd person limited/omniscient, which delivers a presentation to the reader that is outside what the narrative POV setup would lead the reader to expect.
    Elven Candy, jannert and Stormburn like this.
  3. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    I'm not entirely sure what you are asking. Are you asking if it's okay to show three different POV characters and be inside their heads all at the same time?

    You can have three POV characters in third limited, but it's best to have only one in each scene—or preferably chapter. Let the reader live inside a single character's head for a while, before moving on.

    In other words, we can be in Karen's head in Chapter One, in Peter's head in Chapter Two, In Laurie's head in Chapter Three, then Peter again, in Chapter Four, then Laurie in Chapter Five, and back to Karen again in Chapter Six, etc. A chapter-by-chapter change of POV is done a lot in writing, and the reader gets used to it.

    What is less optimal, from a reader's point of view, is if we're in Karen's head for one paragraph, Peter's in the next two, then Laurie's, then Peter's then Karen's, then Laurie's, etc, throughout an entire scene.

    That's referred to as head-hopping, and it interferes with our reader's identification with any one character. Instead of seeing things from one character's perspective—as if we were that person—it's as if we're hovering over all three of them at the same time. That creates distance. We see more, but feel less.

    There are no rules that can't be broken, when it comes to writing, but it's a good idea to think about the effects of what you're doing. If you want people to become totally immersed in your story, rather than standing back and thinking about what happens in the story, then either First Person or Third Person Limited (with few changes of POV character) usually works best.
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  4. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

    Jan 25, 2016
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    I, too, am not entirely sure what you're asking, but if it is what I think it is, I'll try to help.

    The famous "author's voice," which many of us read about when we're learning to write and then try to achieve, is simply the natural way in which an author writes. It's basically all of their little writing quirks and tendencies that end up in the stories they write, simply because that's how they write. It's known as a "voice" because people who read that author's works learn to recognize that author's writing through those quirks and tendencies, and it naturally makes that author's writing unique. I don't know if a voice can be achieved consciously, but I'd certainly recommend against trying to force one. It's such a subtle, natural thing that it could be detrimental to you as a writer and to your writing to attempt to make one.

    As you become a good writer you'll naturally develop your own writing voice. Don't worry about making one. Relax, and enjoy writing.
  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    I too am not sure if I understand, but I'll express thoughts that seem related:

    - Your narrative can't have knowledge that the character doesn't have.
    - Your narrative shouldn't directly communicate opinions that the character doesn't have.
    - Your narrative can use vocabulary words and language structures that the character doesn't have.

    So a narrative voice centered in a four-year-old probably can't know that he's looking at a Model X Tesla. It can know that he's looking at a pink car. Can it know he's looking at a "fuschia" car, even if that word isn't in the four-year-old's vocabulary? I think it can--depending on your style choices--because the four-year-old will be aware that it's a particular type of pink, and while he doesn't have a word for it, his awareness, IMO, licenses the narrator to use the word.

    So I think a narrator centered in a four year old can say:

    A pink car drove up and parked in front of Joey's house. Joey ran out to see it. His mother yelled for him to come back.

    Or it can say:

    A car--a glorious creation of fuschia and chrome, curves and angles, speed and light--sailed up the road and settled, like a butterfly, on the road in front of Joey's house. It changed the entire neighborhood, that car, uplifted it from a sad and prosaic collection of ramshackle dwellings to a participant in the wide and adventurous world. Joey banged the screen door open, already at a dead run as he hit the doorstep, accelerating as he crossed the muddy lawn. He ignored his mother's high-pitched peremptory call for his return; she was part of his old dingy corner of the world, and he already saw himself as beyond that.
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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