Third-person point of view can be single vision, multiple vision, omniscient, or objective.With so many aspects of your story depending on your point-of-view decision, here are some elements for you to consider regarding third-person point of view. Its versatility makes a form of this perspective a great option.

With third-person point of view, the narrator is a voice you craft to relate your story rather than an actual character. But your narrator does (usually) have access to one or more characters’ minds. The pronouns “he” and “she” and their variants are associated with this point of view.

The popular third-person, single-vision perspective allows the narrator access to one character’s mind. Readers can intimately connect with and feel for the point-of-view character without having their attention or allegiance split. And you are not limited by this character’s maturity or intellect when selecting words, crafting phrases, or making complex observations to further your story. You are, however, limited in that you can only relate what the point-of-view character experiences, is told about, overhears, or is able to deduce.

With third-person, multiple-vision point of view, the narrator enters the minds of more than one character, however equally or unequally, and it works best in longer stories. It affords you more freedom in what you can write about. More point-of-view characters mean more experiences had, events witnessed, and observations made. You can even relay the same event from different perspectives. This point of view creates a complexity for readers, who have to work out how the different characters play off one another, what the differences between overlapping stories are revealing, and which characters to sympathize with. And it can create suspense when readers know things that the current point-of-view character does not. Just make sure that you have a good reason for using multiple-vision.

Omniscient third-person perspective provides the narrator with unlimited access to characters’ minds. You already know everything about the “world” you’ve created, and with this perspective you can reveal whatever you choose in creating your story. Though this perspective can be used effectively and is also great for building suspense, it has fallen from use and is often considered outdated, oppressive, unrealistic, and intrusive due to its “all-knowing” nature. And many writers find it easier to write from a more limited, more realistic perspective.

Third-person, objective point of view does not allow the narrator to see through any character’s eyes. The narrator is shut out, and everything you want to say must be revealed through what your characters say and do. The goal here is objectivity, but one of the thrills of reading fiction is being able to peep inside someone else’s mind and that is lacking with this perspective.

Which third-person point of view do you gravitate toward? Please leave a comment!

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