how to put my story across

by Carrie Bennett

Question: I'm trying to figure out whether I would have more success in writing my book from a third persons point of view which will give the story an all over view from all sides, but then I feel that if I was writing as if it were me telling me story it would make people feel more. Can I still make people my pain from a third person view? Surely a third person view would wide the range of people reading my book but then not make it feel more personal?

Does that make sense? What do you think I should do? What would be your advice as I'm stuck?

Answer: All styles of narration have their advantages and limitations.

Third person omniscient (where the narrator can see into the feelings and thoughts of all characters) allows you to include all the information you want, but it makes it harder for the reader to become attached to your main character.

First person lets your main character speak directly to the reader, making the reader her confidant. The story reads a bit like a diary or monologue. The main character's personal voice comes across quite strongly with this technique, and the reader only perceives what the main character perceives. This makes for a closer relationship between reader and main character. It's also particularly useful if your main character's perception is flawed, limited, or biased and you don't want your reader to notice this at first.

A good compromise is third person limited narration. With this technique, you refer to the main character by name or by "she," just as with omniscient. However, your narrator only describes what the main character perceives. The reader only gets to know firsthand about the main character's thoughts and feelings. Those of other characters can only be conveyed through their dialogue or inferred from their actions.

Third person limited does give you the option of switching between two or more character's points of view, but you have to use this sparingly and be very clear whenever the switch is made. However, it is a common technique in romance fiction to tell the story from the point of view of both romantic leads.

These days, third person omniscient has fallen out of favour. So I would recommend one of the other two styles. Either one will allow you to convey your main character's feelings and both are popular among readers. The choice is yours.

Of course, you could always try writing a chapter in third person, re-writing it in first, and then seeing which one is more appealing.

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