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.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero