Third person deep insight shifting point of view

The same scene. We start in Joe's point of view, and then shift when it is necessary.

Joe looked up from his cup of coffee and saw John and Ted walk into the courtyard. Joe could see that they were arguing and he knew they were still probably upset about their earlier confrontation over Madeline's boyfriend.

In the courtyard, John could see Joe watching them but he could care less. John was still uneasy about their earlier confrontation over Madeline's boyfriend.

"I still don't accept it," Ted muttered. "It's wrong."

John held up his hands. "I don't want to talk about it any more. We've discussed Philip enough. It's up to Madeline."

"No, it's not up to Madeline. We have a responsibility. He's not good for her and I don't approve of their going out together."

John dropped his hands and glared at Ted; he could never just let anything go. "I said, I don't want to talk about it again. Period."

Ted wasn't to be dissuaded. "We have to. I think—"

John felt something snap inside of him and he grabbed the collar of Ted's windbreaker. "Goddamn it. I told you I didn't want to talk about it again."

Note: here I describe what is happening in the courtyard by getting into one of the two men's heads. Note that I make sure the reader knows I've shifted character POV by reversing the camera angle. I let the reader know a little background simply by having one of the character's thinking about it. We can hear what is said and we know what the argument is about. The camera is on John's shoulder with a feed into his brain. We know who the characters are because John, the POV character, knows. We also know that what Joe suspected was true, by having John confirm what they were fighting about.

4. Omniscient (author as narrator) here the author simply records observations, showing, not telling:

John and Ted walked into the courtyard. Ted's face was tight, his forehead wrinkled in thought, his eyes smoldering. "Istill don't accept it. It's wrong."

John held up his hands. "I don't want to talk about it any more. We've discussed Philip enough. It's up to Madeline."

"No, it's not up to Madeline. We have a responsibility. He's not good for her and I don't approve of their going out together."

John dropped his hands and glared at Ted. "I said, I don't want to talk about it again. Period."

Ted wasn't to be dissuaded. "We have to. I think—"

John's hands shop up and his fingers wrapped around the collar of Ted's windbreaker. "Goddamn it. I told you I didn't want to talk about it again."

I manage to impart all the information needed and describe the scene. The best way to describe this point of view is to pretend you, as author, are a movie camera that can move around freely throughout your scenes, you show. Also, and this is difficult for new writers, you can make authorial comments such as Ted not being dissuaded because, as God, you know what everyone is thinking.

You could also write this scene with an omniscient point of view and give both characters' thoughts and inner reactions.

Note that in first person, because I had the glass between the character, and me I couldn't hear what they said. If I was in the courtyard with them, so I could hear what was being said, I also might affect the action, because of my presence. In third person I am free to either lock onto one of the characters. In omniscient I am floating overhead, and not affecting the scene at all.

The bottom line is: Every time you use a point of view, make sure you look at the advantages and disadvantages. Recognize what information you are imparting and ultimately try to see things from the reader's point of view. In the final analysis, you must make sure your reader is smoothly imparted the information you wish for him or her to have.

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Responses

  • Roxanne Campbell
    What is third person deep?
    8 years ago
  • NIKO
    What is a shifting point of view?
    7 years ago

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