Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Wedensday's Writer's Tip - Third Person Viewpoint #MFRWauthor #amwriting
There are a number of ways to use third person in viewpoint. The first is using the protagonist, or the main character. The advantage here is the intimacy, close to the I viewpoint but you lose the I. Disadvantages - mainly that the reader will only know what this character knows. This can leave a stumbling point or two since the reader can't know what other characters are thinking or actions that may be important that happen off stage.
Third person from a supporting character viewpoint can present problems particularly if they are of the same sex. There is the he or she problem. Is the writer referring to the major character or himself. This can also on occasion present a problem when using the protagonist as the viewpoint character.
Third person from a minor character viewpoint gives a different picture and can be rather detached, This character can view not only the protagonist but also the other characters in the story. This can break boredom.
Third person shifting viewpoints is often used and can be very effective. One thing here to remember is to firmly establish each character in the reader's mind. The switch should be clear. Some writers use this and tend to do what is head-hopping and this can confuse the writer. If you're going to shift within a scene make the break complete so the reader knows who. One or two sentences in another viewpoint can make the reader wonder what it going on. I've found there are ways to show how a character who isn't the viewpoint character in a scene reacts by expression, especially facial and also in dialogue.
Right now I'm writing a story where there are four viewpoint characters, hero, heroine, villain and dragon. I try to do a little backtracking when doing this to show reactions through a characters eyes but I do separate them. This story is a fantasy romance. When doing straight romance I generally stick to hero and heroine except when the story has a great element of suspense.
The one thing to remember is to choose first or third person for viewpoint using what you are familiar with and also what won't turn the reader off.