Writing in Third Person Point of View

Most authors choose to write in third-person point of view. There seems to be a deeper level to every author’s storytelling technique when using third person.

You’re allowed to see and even know more than the characters involved. Often, beginning writers avoid third-person altogether, though.

There are actually several different types of third-person POV:

Omniscient POV is best described as a story told from God or some other divine power’s viewpoint:

Three houses lined the street. Different paint schemes but similar families. All filled with runny noses, lazy bodies on Saturday mornings.

Objective POV takes a camera-like approach to storytelling. You don’t explore any character’s emotions. You simply describe the scene:

The trees in the forest were green and yellow. A tree stump on the east side was covered in ants. A small creek flowed on the west side.

Limited Omniscient POV is the popular division of third-person POV. The author still uses omniscient powers. But instead of acting as God, the author drifts in and out of a character’s mind, describes the scene and even offers the reader tidbits a character may or may not be privy to.

For authors working on a novel, this type of POV is more commonly known as multiple point of view. You’re using several characters to tell your story:

“Your flowers are so pretty,” Betty said, faking a smile. A real rose garden would have a wide variety of colors, she thought. Amateur.

“Thanks. I only planted yellow. It was Morty’s favorite color.”

“You poor dear. You must miss him.” “Oh yes,” Lois forced a tear, laughing inside.
Hours and hours of tending to a garden. Roses never bloomed in this soil until her missing husband became fertilizer.

Using multiple viewpoints is the easiest way to captivate your readers. This POV allows you to take readers inside the mind of a killer. Through transition, you can then take your readers into the police department that’s searching for this mass murderer so desperately.

Try your hand at the different types of POV with these exercises:

Describe your neighborhood as if God or some other divine power was looking down on it. Use a physical description, an element of geography and a summation of the people in your neighborhood.

Zoom into the lives of one of the houses on your street but not your own. As an omniscient writer, you know everything that’s going on in the house.

Switch to objective point of view. Write a scene in a camera-like fashion. Remember, you’re only writing a person’s actions and dialogue as a camera would see it.

Switch your viewpoint once again.