As an editor, one of the things I see a lot is people trying to figure out third-person point of view. They’ve got a hero, a clear main character, but the narrative point of view stays very far away from that character’s perspective. Part of this, I think, is that it’s just hard to get into a character’s head, to stay with them all the time and do that darned showing we all aim for. This is true, even if you’re writing in first person, which–as a writer–is where I tend to go.
The other thing I think that may be happening is that some writers get a little too caught up in the definition of third-person that used to be more common–that very outside point-of-view. It’s not quite omniscient, but it also doesn’t give you access to any particular character’s thoughts and feelings. Or we think that third-person can only be the opposite of first, which means outside.
The thing is, I really think a high percentage of third-person books published today are written in close third-person, which means the narrator does share thoughts, feelings, and those visceral reactions we feel in our gut; if not as deeply as they would in first-person pov. So I thought that, today, I’d point you to a few blogs and articles about this close third-person point of view. Which, when done well, can bring a real strength to the narrative voice.
- Sally Apokedak gives a nice description, with examples, here, at Bella Online.
- Tia Nevitt talks about Linnea Sinclair’s take on “Deep” third-person here.
- Annette Lyon discusses here why you might want to choose close-third instead of first.
- Katy Upperman gives you a chance here to compare opening paragraphs of one of her WIPs, written in first and in third.
And finally, I often recommend Alicia Rasley’s, The Power of Point of View. I think Rasley does a great job of showing where and how point of view connects with and impacts the narrative voice.
Enjoy the links, and have fun playing with point of view!