Third Person POV – Huh?

Third person Point Of View can be quite confusing and take on many forms. A writer needs to be cognizant of their utilization of those forms. In this blog entry I will attempt to help you distinguish between the types of third person POV and how to successfully use them in your writing.
The first method of third person narration is the Dramatic or Objective Point of View. This method is used most often by writers and involves rendering action and speech that all the points of view share. You are not in a particular person’s head from a narrator’s standpoint. The presentation is limited to only what is spoken and what happens. There is no presentation of inner thoughts of the characters. This leaves readers the freedom to react on their own accord, much like a jury in a trial.
Next, let’s discuss the Omniscient Point of View. Omniscient means all-knowing. This narrator can see all, know all and potentially disclose all. Here the speaker of the novel presents not only action and dialogue, but also reports the inner thoughts and reactions of the character. In reality, we can never know what is in another person’s mind, but we make assumptions, and that is the purpose of the omniscient point of view. This can add dimension to the characters in a novel.
Within the omniscient POV you may have the Limited or Limited-Omniscient POV and this focuses on the thoughts and deeds of the main character in a story. Personally, this style works well for me. Here I can present my character’s thoughts and motivations. The reactions and emotions of my characters take on a depth I can’t accomplish with dramatic point of view. It gives a story richness without limiting whose eyes a reader can view a story through.
Limited-Omniscient POV leads many editors to criticize writers for “head hopping”. With head hopping a writer adjusts this Limited-Omniscient POV too quickly and without a scene break. It can be utterly confusing for a reader when a writer presents a scene from two limited-omniscient points of view. That is not to say that you can’t use more than one Limited-Omniscient POV, but it is easier on your reader if you have an obvious scene break or chapter break prior to changing which character’s thoughts and emotions you are presenting. This is particularly important in love scenes or arguments. You can illustrate what your POV character is observing and that will give you the ability to show your reader what is happening without getting into the other character’s head.
Third Person POV can be an easy way to tell a story and give a writer the ability to richly describe the events and actions of a story as well as demonstrate the deepening of all the writer’s character’s development. Write on my friends and enjoy exploring many different points of view for the depth they can add to your stories.

About Kelly Abell

I am a writer, blogger, and graphic artist. My aim for you is to utilize this blog to help you improve your writing skills, and to educate you on the publishing business. If you need help with writing, want to self-publish a book and need advice, or just want to kick a story idea around to see what works best, that's what I'm here for. As I gain knowledge from editors and publishers, I will share that knowledge with you. As writers we should always strive to improve our craft and grow. A day should not pass where you haven't learned or tried something new with your writing. Many thanks to my Night Owl Friend, Lea Ellen Borg for editing my posts! Best to you and all your characters and stories. Write on, my friends...Write on.
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6 Responses to Third Person POV – Huh?

  1. R&M hepner says:

    Kelly, Third person may be too confusing at least initially at start. Scene breaks I’ve done to separate character action character’s thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kelly Abell says:

      That’s a great way to separate character’s thoughts and actions. Too often I see authors trying to convey what is in both character’s heads in one scene. Becomes extremely confusing for the reader.

      Like

  2. F. Armstrong Green says:

    Usual misunderstanding of PoV,sad to say.

    Like

  3. adeleulnais says:

    Thank you for posting this, I have bookmarked the page so I can keep the information.

    Like

  4. Kelly Abell says:

    My pleasure. Glad to be of service.

    Like

  5. F. Armstrong Green says:

    Almost all problems in fiction fall back on PoV,

    Like

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