How to Write in the Third Person

When I write in the third person, I often find it difficult to create the voice I am using to tell the story. To write in the third person, you need to know what part of the story the writer is. Are you the narrator? Are you telling the story from behind the main character? Are you following a certain character or place? In order for your story to run smoothly, you need to have a consistent point of view and voice.

There are many ways to write in the third person:

* “Following”- To use the following point of view, you will write only about what happens around the main character, what he or she goes through. You will not include anything such as simultaneously executed events, forshadowing that the main character has not witnessed, and you will not include what other characters are thinking. This is a limited way to write, and pretty basic.

* “Narrator”- To be the narrator in the third person, you will need to start your story by describing how you witnessed the event, and later on establish the narrator as a character. The narrator can describe what the other characters are probably thinking, can make guesses, maybe incorrect guesses, as to what is going on in the story, however the narrator does not have the power to be in two places at once. Like the Following view, the narrator has to stay with the main character. This is a “step-up” from the “Following” point of view.

* “Describer”- The describer is the most common and most often used point of view. The describer can tell what happens to any character at any given time in the story, can forshadow events even if the main character has nothing to do with them, can say what happens millions of miles away from the main character, and can say what any character is thinking or planning to do. The describer cannot give any personal opinion to the story because it is not a “person” in the story. The describer is very easy to use, but is not unique at all.

If you choose to follow one of these three methods, you must use it throughout the whole story. If not, you may confuse your readers and have them raise questions as to why the narrator knows what character A is thinking but not what character B is thinking. The third person writing process is easily done as the describer, but the narrator is often more fun to use.

I recommend that you follow these sample builds and come up with your own consistent form of writing in the third person. Once you are consistent, it comes down to putting enough time and effort into completing your work.

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