The third person (he/she/it) is the most common narrative point-of-view. The third person observes the main character(s) from a distance, describing how others might see/consider your protagonist. In other words, it gives the narrator greater scope and view privileges than the first person narrator.
If you are writing an extended piece of fiction, you might find it easier and more accommodating to work with a third person narrator. The following are some varieties of this narrative point-of-view
* Nowadays, it is common to have a third person narrator that observes your main character whilst simultaneously looking over his/her shoulder and seeing the story almost from his/her point of view. This ‘over-the-shoulder’ third person narrator can provide some of the advantages of the first person without the drawbacks – however, it is somewhat limited as you are largely viewing events from your character’s POV. For emerging writers, this third person narrative may be a safer bet if wanting to attract an agent.
* You may want your narrator to be quite separate from your character, however. In which case, you could have your narrator follow him/her from a distance, observing actions as if a camera and not directly informing the reader of the character’s inner thoughts.
* Or you could have an omniscient third person narrator – a ‘God-like’ storyteller who sees all and knows all.
The “It” narrative
This is an unusual form of third person narration that tells a tale from the point of view of an object or an animal. An “it” narrative might conceivably be the story of a ring, told by the ring, as it recounts its many owners etc…
Some books/plays/films are narratives told from various POVs. More common in Victorian prose than in contemporary writing, multi narrators allow for a vigorous description of a community and is useful if the author wants to concentrate on the interconnectivity of a place.
Whichever variety you choose, it is important to be style consistent throughout your work (or if you aren’t, have a reason for that).
June 9th, 2012 at 12:00
Thanks Sue – that’s just what i was looking for this morn’. Best wishes
June 10th, 2012 at 21:40
I don’t pen much fiction but I always take in everything you suggest. You are a great writer an teacher.
June 11th, 2012 at 06:57
Wow, incredibly informative. Thanks so much!
June 11th, 2012 at 12:52
I’d only add (especially for beginning writers) that when using multiple narrators, it’s helpful to be really clear when you’re switching “heads.” That is, perhaps delineating them by new chapter or section, so as not to be unclear or confusing. Thanks!
June 11th, 2012 at 18:50
You’ve been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award! http://ibdesignsusa.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/one-lovely-blog-award/
June 12th, 2012 at 17:55
Thanks! coincidentally I have been debating which to use for my next project.. Think I’ll go with third person though.
June 13th, 2012 at 03:57
Since I write romance I feel it’s important to get deep inside my characters heads. I use both his and hers POV but always keep them separate in their own scenes. It also lets me get to know them better. T