point of view comes most naturally to me. Most of what I write is a character
inside me trying to break out. I just let his (or her) voice flow and some
50,000 words later, I have a novel.
shifted a first-person narrative to third-person point of view with great
results. The advantages of third person are numerous:
can describe what the main character looks like.
can balance the scene between participants instead of leaning heavily to one
can tell what happened without the bias of a first-person narrator’s motives.
person approach infused new life to a tired scene. It’s one I’ve written a
dozen times, one that is necessary to delivery exposition to the novel, one I
can’t live without but was never really fond of. Switching to third person gave
the scene new energy.
that came from my critique group (mentioned
two weeks ago by my writing buddy Bonnie) was, “Who is
the narrator is outside of the scene, there’s still a storyteller. I’ve written
about perspective before.
close is a third-person point of view with insight into a single character’s
omniscient gives insight to multiple characters’ thoughts. Omniscient is a
dated style used by Henry James but generally considered false today. When
writers use omniscience today, they typically shift between “close” characters
by chapter (think Game of Thrones).
scene I read was third-person-distant. It provided the perspective of one
character, but not the thoughts or feelings intimate enough to be considered
I like the
distance of the third-person narrator. I don’t want the reader to know the
characters’ thoughts; the action should reveal motivations and desires.
insight to a character, how will the reader connect with the story?
Third-person-distant is a challenging perspective, one I’m not entirely sure I
can pull off.
The novel I’m
currently reading is a third-person omniscient that shifts perspectives
depending on the chapter. Some segments are close to the husband character,
some to the wife, and others to the prostitute that comes between them. This
shift occurs after page breaks and chapter changes, but sometimes inside the
chapter, the narrator slips and gives us both the wife and the husband in
group would never put up with that. We always identify where a story has
shifted perspective. Maybe it’s our unique pet peeve. Our group won’t let a
first- to third-person narration is more than just exchanging pronouns. It’s a
complicated revision that re-imagines the entire storytelling experience.
Likewise, shifting from third- to first-person narration might bring a reader
closer to a story. It’s a worthwhile exercise to change narrative point of
view. Even if you ultimately switch back.