Third person writing

by Judi Neto
(California USA)

Question: I converted my novel from 1st person to 3rd. It's confusing to me and I feel I lost some momentum.

A Dr. (3rd person past tense) is asking a patient a question. Can the patient (main character) answer in 1st person?

Answer: This is really two questions.

1. If the story has lost momentum as a result of changing from first to third person, maybe you should switch back? I would stick with whatever narrative mode makes the story come alive in the most engaging way.

2. In direct dialogue, characters should respond to questions as they would in real life. For example...

Dr. Smith asked, "Do you feel any better?"

"A little," Steve replied.

The mode in this case is third person, past tense. However, within the quotation marks, the characters are speaking in present tense. The doctor uses second person. Steve answers in first.

In other words, what happens inside the quotation marks does not change the mode of the story.

Comments for Third person writing

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by: Judi Neto

Thank you for addressing my questions. It really helped me understand because you gave examples.

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