The Pros And Cons Of Writing In Third Person


Third person seems to be common ground, for readers and writers. It is a space where most people are comfortable. You can divide third person into attached, omniscient and narrator.

You slam down the phone. You try to calm your breathing. You need to make a plan. You cannot live like this.
“What’d he say?”
“Not now, Mom.” You can’t do this. You run your thumbnail along the ridge in the table.You need help. You need money. You need to raise your child. His child. If only you knew what a few cheap drinks would end up costing you.
Happy writing!

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  1. DL Kirkwood

    Great article, Mia! Thank you for the much needed insight, I know the groups I have joined (and stayed on) discuss this often.

  2. Sally Lazanas

    Thanks for your examples above if writing in 1 st, 2nd, and 3rd person.

  3. P Morris

    Some helpful advice and good things to think about, but I disagree with some of it.
    Film has the luxury of (usually) not being inside characters’ heads, and thus it has more freedom to jump around to any scene involving anyone without a main character present. We can see things a main character did not witness.
    I don’t see how it’s a bad thing if a book does the same thing, as long as it’s done well. If the story you want to tell NEEDS to be able to jump to many scenes involving many people, go for it. It’s silly to limit yourself and it’d be even sillier if books were not allowed to tell those kinds of stories.
    I don’t think it’s necessarily annoying to have a short-lived pov that never pops up again. Viewpoints don’t need to be frequent and long if it’s obvious this is just a small scene with one-off characters. Though I guess these small scenes don’t always need to be inside someone’s head and can just be omniscient, with just the narrator witnessing the event.
    You could harp on about how that’s lazy, impersonal and distances the reader by not letting them experience the scene through a character, but eh again if film can do it why not books?
    I just feel instead of just telling people that they shouldn’t do something, explore all sides of it. Tell them the benefits of doing the opposite. You say there are exceptions. What are the exceptions?

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