Hi SErs! Harmony here 🙂 Today, I’d like to talk about how to write Point of View (POV) in the Third Person Limited perspective–otherwise known as Third Person Close.
Third Person Point of View is unique because it has degrees of distance, unlike First and Second Person POVs. The Third Person lens can be dialled up close so it focusses on one individual at a time (Limited), or the lens can be left wide-angle to encompass everything and everyone (Distant or Omniscient).
What is Third Person Limited POV?
This perspective uses the pronouns He, She, and They. This sort of narrative keeps the reader at more of a distance from the protagonist and action than do First and Second. Third Person POV is the most commonly used perspective in fiction writing. Below is an example of Third Person Limited …
‘By the time Jen gets home, her husband will be dead. It’s hard to not smile at the thought. She has the best alibi an abused and beaten wife could ask for, sitting here having dinner and drinks with three of her oldest friends. It won’t matter how strong the police believe her motive to be. Not when Jen has all these people, and her credit-card bill, putting her right here from 7 until 11 pm. By the time she gets home, at around 11:30 pm or so, it will all be over.‘
In Third Person Limited, a narrator tells the reader about the characters and events. Such a narrator can be invisible or more overt. In most fiction, the Third-Person narrator remains invisible and in the background.
The Pros of Third Person Limited POV:
- Although this perspective doesn’t offer the complete freedom of Third Person Omniscient, it does offer much more freedom than either the First or Second Person lenses.
- This POV allows you to show the thoughts and feelings of an individual character without being trapped in the character’s head in the way you are in First Person.
- In this perspective, you can maintain a level of uncertainty about your secondary characters. Their pasts, secrets, emotions, and agendas can stay ambiguous.
- You can have more than one POV character (written one at a time).
- You have more flexibility with sentence construction and openings because you can choose from a range of pronouns and proper nouns.
The Cons of Third Person Limited POV:
- Third Person POV keeps the reader at arm’s length from the characters and action.
- The more characters the narrative focusses upon, the more diluted the reader’s connection can become.
- Less possibility of an unreliable narrator; although, this can be worked around. I pulled this off to good effect in my second book The Glade while using Third Person Limited. But it’s not as easy as when you’re in First Person.
Why would you write in Third Person POV?
This perspective gives the writer the luxury of telling the story from multiple viewpoints and offers the ability to write different accounts of events.
Top Tip: Each character needs his/her own thinking style. However, the narration style needs to remain consistent.
In Summary: Third Person Limited POV is told from the perspective of someone (or something) that is not part of events as they unfold. Such an observer can remain overt or covert within the story. Through this lens, you can show multiple characters, so long as you visit them one at a time. This viewpoint is the most common in fiction.
That’s it from me today. I hope you’ve found this post useful. I’ll see you again on Monday 4th October, when we’ll take a look at Third Person Distant POV 🙂
Part 1, Overview, can be found HERE.
Part 2, First Person, can be found HERE.
Part 3, Second Person, can be found HERE.
©2021 Harmony Kent