We started our learning about Point of View two days ago, let’s proceed….
The Third Person
Characters are referred to as “he” and “she” in third person. In this case the narrator (who may be indistinguishable from the author) is not a character in the story. Depending on the type of third person point of view, the narrator may know — and be able to tell about — the thoughts and feelings of all characters, or only one character, or they may only be able to report what is seen or heard.
Sometimes a third person narrator requires the reader to accept the narrator’s authority, which they may be hesitant to do. Just because a narrator sounds like they know it all, doesn’t mean they do. This may be why the first person point of view has become more and more popular — it can be harder to get the reader to identify with a nameless, third person teller. However, third person narration is very flexible and should not be discarded without thought. It is still the most common point of view, and for good reason.
When a writer is turning personal experiences into fiction, it is often easier to write in third person (even if they intend to put the final draft in first person). This is because the third person distances the reader (and the writer) from events. It is easier to write about personal things when you write as if they are happening to someone else. It is also easier to change events — often necessary to turn reality into fiction — when you aren’t claiming that it was you who experienced them.
Third Person Omniscient: The narrator knows everything; all thoughts, feelings, and actions may be related to the reader (or they may be withheld).
Her stomach rumbled. She had sour ‘moimoi’ earlier in the evening at her CDS dinner. She had struggled within herself, she suspected that the meal had spent way too much time outside the cooler, exposed without proper preservation. She argued that she ought to eat it after all it was her money’s worth. You know how it feels to cough up the compulsory fee for those blasted Corper events. But it looked good. Just eat it now and suffer later. You know you don’t have food in the house. I don’t care. Yes you do..
Third Person Objective: The narrator can only relate to the reader what is seen or heard. A good writer can tell a completely objective story in such a way that the reader is able to determine the feelings and sometimes even the thoughts of the characters through what those characters say and do, even though the thoughts and feelings are never described.
Her stomach rumbled throughout the night. She kn ew it was the sour ‘moimoi’ from her CDS dinner earlier that evening. So she swore. “Dammn it,” she said. “I should never have discredited my better judgement.” You see, she had suspected it was stale when she caught a whiff of the meal as it was served her. She was so sure it had spent a considerable amount of time outside the cooler without proper preservation..
Third Person Limited: The narrator is able to see into the mind of a single character. Sometimes the point of view may zoom in so close to that character that the narrator begins to use that character’s manner of speech and thought, and sometimes the narrator may step back to take a more objective view. This point of view is sort of the “default” in fiction — it is the most common because it can be used the most effectively in the majority of situations. If there is no reason not to use a third person limited point of view, then it is probably the best choice (but you will find it useful to experiment before choosing the point of view for any given story; third person limited may often work, but it isn’t always the best point of view. Don’t be afraid to use other points of view, just make sure you have a reason for your choice). In longer forms like novels, third person limited can be made even more effective by changing the character that the point of view is limited to. You must always be sure the reader knows when you have switched points of view and who you have changed to, however. If you are going to use shifting third person points of view, it is often best to change at a chapter or section break , at least until you are proficient enough at it that you won’t lose your reader.
Her stomach was rumbling throughout the night. She glanced at her watch. It was already half past eleven. “Dammn that moimoi,” she said, thinking of how hungry she had been at her CDS dinner earlier that evening. She had argued with herself for an hour about whether she should eat it. She had coughed up the entire fee charged each corper by the Cds, so she was determined to have her money’s worth. Even though she suspected the meal had spent way too much time outside the cooler, without proper preservation..
Se-eth thou now? And doth thou understand?