first person to third person

by Jeremy

Question: How can I smoothly transition between these two points of view, or how can I switch to another person's point of view?

Answer: The problem with transitioning smoothly from first to third person narration is that you usually confuse your reader. They thought they were seeing the story through one character's eyes, and suddenly they find they are a roving camera. They thought they knew who they were in the story (the main character) and now they aren't sure. It's very disconcerting.

Generally, you should choose one style of narration and stick to it. That means one tense (past, present, or future), one person (1st, 2nd, or third), and one point of view (omniscient or limited).

If you must change points of view, for instance if you want your reader to know something the main character does not, or if you want to tell the story from the point of view of several characters, then it is best to switch POV characters only at a chapter break. Try not to switch in the middle of a scene, ever. Readers are more prepared to expect a change of scene at a chapter break, so a change of POV is easier to take.

When you make the switch, it helps to orient your reader in the new point of view. Give clues or information right away that tells the reader he/she is now in a different head. Make each POV character's style distinct. Ditto with the switch back. Readers always want to know whose head they are in.

Comments for first person to third person

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Mar 15, 2014
thank you
by: Anonymous

thanks for the help.

May 07, 2016
by: WillParch

Damn, I was stuck trying to find out how in the world to this. This helped a lot now I can continue. Tysm.

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