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The Importance of Point of View: Part IV: Third Person

Welcome back! In this final installment in my series on point of view (POV), I will be discussing the most popular point of view used in fiction: third person. The different points of view and the use of first-person and second-person POVs were covered earlier in this series.

Third person is popular for a reason. It is very flexible. You can choose to show your fictional world from many viewpoints and intimacy levels within one POV.

Third-Person Omniscient: You can show the reader your world from completely outside the characters and setting yet be able to relate—or refuse to relate—the thoughts and actions of each at your own whim or for your own devious intentions (e.g., to drive your reader crazy with suspense).

Third-Person Objective: Again, you can show your reader your world from the outside but, in this case, refrain from getting inside the characters’ heads. Only actions, narrative, and description are used to tell your story. All thoughts and feelings must be learned or inferred by the reader from these elements.

Third-Person Limited: With this POV, you can take a more intimate approach and get up close and personal with one of your characters. This can be a single character in a novel (also referred to as third-person single POV) or multiple characters (also referred to as third-person multiple POV). The latter can be distinguished from third-person objective in that at any one time in the story, only the viewpoint of one character is shown. In this case, any shifts from one character to another must be done carefully, such as through a natural break in the story with a scene shift or new chapter.

As with the previous weeks, I will demonstrate third-person POV (limited in this case) with a short scene from The Magician’s Wife. This same scene was covered in the first-person and second-person POVs in my previous posts.

Excerpt, The Magician’s Wife by Janell E. Robisch

“Sarin, you must be careful.”

“Lew, do not speak that way. There is nothing to worry about. It is just another spell. As soon as Kaleo arrives with the herb, everything will be fine.” Her voice was shaking terribly despite all her efforts to remain calm. After wringing a warm cloth between her trembling hands, she applied the compress to her husband’s cheeks and forehead.

“Sarin, look at me, at my face!” he said, pulling her wrist and the cloth down.

Reluctantly, she brought her eyes to his, blinking back tears. His green eyes were bright, but the flesh around them was pale and drawn. Moving his hand to hers, he squeezed gently. “Sarin, this is the last time. The Guardians are calling me. It’s time to go.”

“No.” She shook her head hard and felt her hair brush the sides of her face. It usually annoyed her, but now it seemed unimportant.

Lew’s eyes focused on her once more. “Listen to me Sarin, you have to be careful with the magic. Do not trust anyone. Do not tell anyone. If I had known . . . . I never should have taught you anything.” She heard no malice in his voice, only fear and regret. “You must promise me to be careful.”

His lips faded to a lighter shade of pink as if all his blood were rushing down to his ailing heart, but Sarin knew the truth. She could feel its beat slowing as surely as if it were her own. Soon, it would stop.

“I promise,” she nodded. “I promise.” The truth of his departure was becoming clear to her as the emerald sparkle of his eyes finally began to fade.

As a warm tear slid down her nose, Sarin made the four-pointed sign of the Guardians over her husband’s chest. “I love you,” she whispered, burying her face in his shoulder, inhaling his scent as if she could hold on to it. She felt his cool, weak hand rest on her neck. “Don’t forget me.”

“Never, my little star. Never.”

The hand slipped ever-so-slowly from her neck, and Sarin broke into sobs, her fists buried in Lew’s tunic, knowing she would never hear his sweet voice again.

Now that you have read all three, which do you prefer for this scene?


Deep POV—What’s So Deep About It by Beth Hill, The Editor’s Blog

The Power of Point of View: Make Your Story Come To Life by Alicia Rasley

Using Third Person Multiple POV by Mac Hopkins, Scribophile Writing Academy

What Point of View Should You Use in Your Novel? (First Person? Third Person?) by James V. Smith, Jr., Writer’s Digest


SUNDAY REBLOG: 5 Ways to Make Better Writing Resolutions in 2016 – Helping Writers Become Authors via @KMWeiland

This year, take your writing resolutions beyond wishful maybes and make them happen. Here are five ways you can make better writing resolutions this year.

Source: 5 Ways to Make Better Writing Resolutions in 2016 – Helping Writers Become Authors

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Character Motivation: Sunday Reblog

Should your characters change during your story? The state of your the actors in your plot can drive your story or make it stagnant. This excerpt from an older post at is worth another look. Read on.




4 Ways to Motivate Characters and Plot

Some of your characters will change during the course of your story—let’s call them changers. Others—stayers—will not change significantly in personality or outlook, but their motivations may nonetheless change as the story progresses from situation to situation. Both changers and stayers can have progressive motivations.

Confused? Don’t be; it’s simpler than it may seem. Characters come in four basic types:

By Nancy Kress

  1. Characters who never change, neither in personality nor motivation. They are what they are, and they want what they want.
  2. Characters whose basic personality remains the same; they don’t grow or change during the story. But what they want changes as the story progresses (“progressive motivation”).
  3. Characters who change throughout the story, although their motivation does not.
  4. Characters who change throughout the story as their motivation also progresses.

When you know the key motivation(s) behind your character and plot, you can write scenes that not only make sense to you and your readers, but also add depth to your story. Because character and plot are intertwined, we’ll refer to the above four as character/plot patterns. Let’s further explore each one.


Continued at 4 Ways to Motivate Characters and Plot |


What are your favorite ways to balance your characters and their motivation to keep your story moving forward? Do you prefer them to be static or dynamic?

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REVIEW: Scrivener Writing Software (Updated Nov. 2017)

In the last couple of months, Scrivener writing software has become an essential tool for me both for writing and business tasks. Literature and Latte, the makers of Scrivener, describe the software as “a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.” I have found it to be very helpful so far.

Some Reasons that I Love Scrivener

  1. It has the most awesome free trial period ever. Scrivener’s 30-day trial period is unique in that the program code only counts a day used when you actually open the software. I knew within a few days of use that I wanted to buy the program. However, because I didn’t open it every day, it was probably two months before I actually bought it. I couldn’t resist taking advantage of this weekend’s Black Friday sale (if you read this right away, you might still have time to catch it!)
  2. I can store all of my writing “stuff” in one place for each project. For my novel, this includes my outline, the actual manuscript, character sheets, photos of my characters (pulled from lookalikes on the Internet), setting sheets (again, including pictures), and other research, whether in the form of notes or full pages from the Web.
  3. It has various ways to organize and look at your project. You can write in full screen. You can write in split screen so that you can look at your notes or character sheets on one side while you type a chapter on the other. Use the cork board view to see summaries of various scenes and even move chapters or scenes around right from this view. You can look at your whole manuscript at once or look at just one scene at a time.

    scrivener review, scrivener
    Scrivener’s Split View
  4. It is set up to help you self-publish. I haven’t decided yet whether I am going to self-publish my novel or go the traditional route, but the tools are here. Scrivener can automatically compile your book into ePub format (and other formats). I already have plans to help clients by using Scrivener to format their books for electronic publication.
  5. I can set targets for my writing. If I want to write a thousand words a day or if I want my novel to be 100,000 words long, I can set project and session targets, and Scrivener will let me know when I have reached my goals.


It is a surprise that although I have used it for my novel and my blog (yes, I am writing in it right now) for a couple of months, I have only scratched the surface of what Scrivener can do. My only real complaint is that sometimes it is a little difficult to find out how to do something without searching the help file or the Web. So, while the interface could be more user-friendly, there is a lot packed into this little program.

I’m sure I will be discovering more about it as I go. If you decide to try Scrivener, you can go on Literature and Latte’s website or YouTube and find lots of free tutorial videos to get you started. I hope that you like it as much as I do!

Update: November 2017

I’m still using Scrivener two years later and still love it. It even sometimes helps me organize developmental edits as well as my own drafts.

I still adore it for drafting and organizing my thoughts and chapters, but if you want to do any revision, especially with track changes (such as while working with your editor), it becomes more difficult. So, I tend to use it in combination with Word and not exclusively.

I also prefer Word hands down for ebook and print formatting, but I haven’t taken a great deal of time to learn how to best do it in Scrivener.

Dictation also works in the program with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and that helps, although dictation is still smoother in Word. As a caveat, like many things, this may still work better in Scrivener for Mac.

And we’re still waiting for Scrivener for Android, although Mattias Alvin at Tall Tech Tales did write a tutorial on ways to work around that and using Scrivener on the go.

So, overall, I still recommend it highly, but with some caveats.

Do you use Scrivener? What things do you love? What things do you hate?

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a small percentage of sales through these links but at no extra cost to you. My editing, design and consulting services are paid for by clients, but affiliate links help me to provide free blog content, videos, and writing and self-publishing resources for all of my readers.



Learn Scrivener Fast
“Awesome! This is a great course. Beautifully made and super-clear. If you want to write better and get organized in the process, Scrivener is brilliant. This course is too!”—Will Roffé, Learn Scrivener Fast Student

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SUNDAY REBLOG: Why You Should Do NaNoWriMo… And Why You Shouldn’t « terribleminds: Chuck Wendig

Should you do NanoWriMo or not? Chuck Wendig over at terribleminds has some thoughts on the matter.

Source: Why You Should Do NaNoWriMo… And Why You Shouldn’t « terribleminds: chuck wendig

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