There are many ways to write a story. One of the most common is in the first-person point of view (I, me, we). This is when you write from one character’s perspective, and they are telling their own story. It’s very intimate and personal because readers can get into that character’s mind. But there are times when it’s best to use a third-person point of view (he, she, they) instead. In this post, you’ll learn how and why use third-person point of view when writing.
Nine reasons to use a third-person point of view
The third-person point of view is a storytelling method used in novels, films, and television shows. It’s also known as the “omniscient” or “limited omniscient” point of view. Why use third-person point of view? Here are the reasons why you should consider writing from this perspective.
1. It allows you to show instead of tell.
The third-person point of view is a narrative mode. It’s the most popular way to tell a story in novels, especially in modern fiction. Why use third-person point of view? The third-person point of view allows you to show instead of telling. It’s more immersive than the first-person point of view because you don’t limit to one character’s perspective. You can also use it to jump around between different characters’ perspectives.
The third-person point of view is a popular choice for stories where you want to show how the protagonist changes over time. For example, if you’re writing a coming-of-age story, the third person would allow you to show the protagonist’s life over time, letting readers see how they grow and change as their experiences change them.
The third-person narrator can also be used in mysteries or thrillers, allowing the author to give clues about what’s going on without revealing everything at once — though this can be tricky and might require some extra planning on your part. Why use third-person point of view? This technique makes your writing more believable because it shows readers what’s happening as it happens instead of simply describing it after the fact.
2. It gives more control over your narrative.
The third-person point of view gives more control over your narrative. You can see it as an omniscient narrator, watching over all of the characters, but you don’t have to be quite so omniscient. It’s a matter of perspective. While writing in the first person, you experience what your character experiences as they experience it. While writing in the second person, you share that experience with your reader and share it with their character.
Why use third-person point of view? Writing from the third-person point of view allows you to step back from that perspective and look at all of the characters from above. You can see them all interacting with each other, but you don’t have to be inside one character’s head for long during this shared experience.
This allows for more flexibility in telling your story because it doesn’t require that everything be told through one character’s eyes or voice. It also allows for easier transitions between different perspectives because there are no longer barriers between them, as if every scene had to be from only one character’s point of view at a time.
3. It lets you write in multiple genres.
The third-person point of view is a flexible and versatile point of view that you can use to write in multiple genres. Why use third-person point of view? The third-person point of view is the most popular perspective for writing fiction, and it’s easy to see why. It allows you to tell your story from any number of angles, including the viewpoints of multiple characters.
You can also easily switch between different characters’ viewpoints within a scene, making it easy to avoid telling the reader too much or too little. Why use third-person point of view? A third-person point of view is suitable for nonfiction because it allows you to explain concepts and ideas without sounding like an expert yourself.
For example, if you’re writing an instructional guide on how to grow pumpkins or train dogs, the third person allows you to write about these topics as if they were facts rather than as if they were your personal opinions or beliefs about them. The third-person point of view is the most versatile of all. It’s the one that lets you write in multiple genres and not fall into the trap of repeating yourself.
4. It’s easier to develop characters.
The third-person point of view is a narrative perspective employed by an external narrator (one who is not part of the story) and whose voice is not a character’s. This means that third-person narration tells us what happened rather than showing us what happened.
As a result, it is easier to develop characters in the third person than in the first person because you are not limited by the thoughts and feelings of one character. The third person allows you to get inside the heads of several characters and tell how they think and feel about what happens in the story. You can also reveal their motivations for actions, making them more human and relatable to your readers.
Why use third-person point of view? This writing style suits novels where there are multiple protagonists or where there is an omniscient narrator who knows everything about everyone involved in the story. It’s also helpful if you want to give more detail about events without limiting yourself to one particular character’s point of view at any given time but still keep control over what happens on stage at all times.
5. It’s easier to describe the setting.
Why use third-person point of view? The third-person point of view makes it easier to describe the setting. It can be used to create a sense of distance, but it is more commonly used to develop an understanding of intimacy. The narrator can use first-person pronouns like “I” and “we” to create an intimate relationship with the reader.
When writing in the third person, you can use the narrator’s voice to describe your setting and the environment around your characters. This lets readers get a sense of what they see and feel without getting bogged down in too much detail. It also gives them a better understanding of what each character is thinking and feeling at any given moment in time.
- For example:
He walked down the street, his hands stuffed into his pockets. He had been walking for thirty minutes now, and he was tired and hungry. The sun was going down fast behind the buildings, and he was getting nervous about where he would sleep tonight. He shivered as a gust of wind blew past him, but he knew there was nothing else for him to do besides keep walking until he found something better than this rundown city.
6. You can create more tension and suspense.
If you’re writing a thriller, mystery, or another genre where suspense and tension are essential, you may want to consider using a third-person point of view (POV). Why use third-person point of view? In the third person, the narrator can be any character in the story, so the reader gets to see things from multiple perspectives. It’s also easier for readers to get inside the heads of characters in the third person than in the first person.
Why use third-person point of view? When you write from a third-person POV, you have more opportunities to create different kinds of tension and suspense. You can increase stress by letting your readers see things your main character doesn’t know yet.
|“The door creaked open slowly.”||This creates suspense because it suggests something frightening is going on inside.|
|“The woman walked into the room.”||This creates tension because it means something dreadful could happen.|
7. It has a broader audience appeal.
Although the first-person point of view has been a popular way of telling stories, it is not the only one. Many authors choose third-person because it has several advantages over first-person. Why use third-person point of view?
First, the third-person perspective allows you to tell your story from multiple points of view. This means that you can switch from one character’s perspective to another throughout the story to create a compelling narrative. This also helps you avoid the dreaded “head-hopping” problem when you’re writing in the first person.
Second, a third person has more flexibility than the first person when describing things like physical appearance, emotions, and thoughts. You can even use “he said,” “she said,” “he thought,” and, “she thought” if you want to show exactly what each character is thinking or saying at any given moment without having to use internal monologue or dialogue tags.
Thirdly, the third person allows you to describe events objectively without getting too much detail about what happened or how someone felt about it (like when using an active voice).
8. It avoids confusion during dialogue.
When writing a story, you have to decide which point of view to use: first person, second person, or third person. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Why use third-person point of view? In general, the third person is a good choice for novels. The story is told from an outside perspective, and the narrator can be omniscient or limited.
The third-person point of view avoids confusion during dialogue. You can use characters’ names instead of “he” or “she.” When you use a second-person point of view, it isn’t easy to track who’s speaking because you have to add the appropriate pronouns (they) every time someone else speaks. Why use third-person point of view? In a novel, the third person is often used to tell each character’s story from their perspective.
They’re not using the narrator’s voice or point of view but their voices as they tell their stories. The first-person point of view is practical when writing short stories or memoirs because it allows you to tell your story in your own words. People often write about themselves in the first person because it makes them feel more comfortable talking about themselves and sharing their feelings with others.
9. It can describe the action in multiple locations.
The third-person point of view is what you see on TV, in movies, and books. It’s a prevalent point of view and can be used effectively to tell most stories. It’s often used in novels because it allows the writer to step outside the character’s heads and look at them objectively. You can also use it to switch between different characters as they interact, which adds depth to your story.
Why use third-person point of view? The third-person point of view allows you to tell your story from the perspective of different characters in different locations. One example will be if you have a scene where two characters are having a conversation, and then they go out on a date. You could write that scene using the first person, where one character is talking, the other character responds, and then the first character speaks again, etc.
But this can get confusing because both characters are speaking at once. It can be hard to follow who said what when two people are talking at once. For this reason, the third person is often better for writing scenes where multiple people are involved in an event or conversation.
Five tips when writing in third-person point of view
Now that you know when and why use third-person point of view, you should know how to use it. The third-person point of view is one of the most common narrative perspectives in fiction, and therefore it’s essential to understand how to write in the third person. Here are some tips to help you write from a third-person point of view.
1. Simplify the language.
When writing from the third-person point of view, you can write in just about any way you want. This means that you can be creative with your descriptions, but that doesn’t mean you should. Writing a good story is making it as easy as possible for the reader to understand what’s happening.
It means that if you’re going to be using many words or phrases that are unfamiliar to most readers, then it’s probably not the best idea to use them when writing from a third-person point of view. You also need to make sure that your sentences are as straightforward as possible.
If they aren’t, then it will be difficult for people who aren’t familiar with your writing style to understand what you’re trying to say. The third-person point of view allows you to use longer sentences than the first-person point of view, but only if they’re straightforward for people who aren’t familiar with them to understand.
2. Keep the genre in mind.
When choosing the third-person point of view, you should consider the genre or style you want to write. A third-person narrator can be objective, subjective or limited.
|Objective Point of View||The narrator describes events without any biases, opinions, or feelings. This type of narration is often used in nonfiction writing and journalism.|
|Subjective Point of View||The narrator expresses personal feelings, opinions, or judgments about events in the story. This type of narration is often used in fiction writing and memoirs.|
|Limited Point of View||The narrator shares some information about the characters’ thoughts and feelings but does not reveal all information about them. This type of narration works well for short stories and novels with multiple characters with different personalities and points of view on situations throughout the narrative.|
3. Prepare to shift tenses.
When writing from a third-person point of view, you need to prepare to shift tenses. That’s because you can’t just write about events as they happen. You need to show what the narrator knows and doesn’t know at the time. If a character is telling you a story that happened three years ago, you’ll have to use past tense. It’s important not to confuse your reader by using “past tense” when it isn’t necessary.
If the narrator is telling you something that happened right now, it’s best to write in the present tense so there’s no confusion about what’s happening and what happened back then. If you’re unsure whether or not you should use the present or past tense, ask yourself if the action is happening right now or if it happened in the past.
4. Avoid too many viewpoints.
When writing from a third-person point of view, you should avoid using too many viewpoints. This is because it can be disorienting for the reader if there are too many people to follow. You might also want to include a character from another viewpoint to give the reader a new perspective on things.
Make sure that each point of view is unique. If two characters have similar thoughts and feelings, your story can be confusing because it will be hard for the reader to distinguish between them. Don’t switch between points of view too quickly. If you switch between them too often, it will make it difficult for readers to keep track of what’s happening in each scene or chapter.
Multiple viewpoints are difficult to pull off well because they require a lot of careful planning and forethought. If done poorly, they can be confusing or distracting for readers — especially if they switch from one viewpoint to another without warning or marking this change with some transition statement.
5. Choose your pronouns carefully.
Why use third-person point of view? Writing in a third-person point of view is a great way to distance yourself from your characters, which can be helpful if you’re trying to write about something difficult or uncomfortable. But it also has its drawbacks. When writing in the third person, you have to be very careful with pronouns. They can make or break the flow of your sentences.
The best way to practice using pronouns is to read the work of other writers — especially those who write in the third person. Pay attention to how they use pronouns and try out their techniques in your writing. You may find that some writers use pronouns sparingly, while others use them frequently.
Frequently asked questions
Here are answers related to some of your questions on why use third-person point of view.
What is the first-person point of view?
The first-person point of view, also known as the “I” perspective, is one of the most common perspectives in fiction and nonfiction. It’s the most accessible point of view to master because it requires the least amount of planning. When you write in the first person, you tell your story using “I” and “we.”
The narrator and main characters are the same, so you don’t have to worry about balancing their perspectives or maintaining distance between them. But this ease comes at a price: First-person narration can be limiting and confining for both writer and reader.
The first-person point of view is an excellent choice for a memoir or diary-style story where you want to share your own experiences and feelings with readers. It also works well when you’re writing a personal essay where you want to maintain a strong connection between yourself and your audience.
What is the second-person point of view?
The second-person point of view, also known as the intimate or personal point of view, is a type of discourse addressed to an audience in the second person. This means that the speaker refers to them using you and your pronouns. It is also commonly called the “you” perspective because it often uses the word “you” when referring to someone being spoken about.
You can use the second-person point of view in both written and oral communication. It is commonly used when writing letters or e-mails or giving speeches, but it can also be used in other types of writing (such as plays) or conversations.
In most cases, the second-person point of view involves speaking directly to your audience so that they feel like they are being spoken directly to by you and only them; however, there are some exceptions to this rule. Some people may use this type of perspective even if several people listen (or read) at once.
What does omniscient mean?
Omniscient describes a point of view in writing that allows the reader to know everything about the story. It’s considered the third-person point of view instead of the first person or second person. In omniscient POV, the narrator can tell you things that only one character would know or have access to and go inside their heads and see what they’re thinking and feeling.
Omniscience is usually reserved for main characters or narrators who have knowledge that the other characters don’t possess. If you’re writing a book and want to use this style, your readers must understand who they should be listening to when reading something from an omniscient narrator’s perspective.
Why use third-person point of view? A third-person point of view is a great way to give your readers an intimate look at the lives of your characters. This point of view gives your readers a glimpse into the minds and hearts of your characters that the first person can’t provide. When you write in the third person, you can give your characters’ thoughts, feelings, and actions without being restricted by the limits of one character’s point of view.