Improving Writing Skills : How to Write in Third Person

Today we’re going to talk about how to write in the third person. As a fiction writer, writing in third person can free you up a lot by allowing you to get out of the first person, which is inside of one person’s head, and into the head of an omniscient or an outside narrator. Omniscient third person is actually different from regular third person in that omniscient third person narratives can actually go into multiple characters heads, even in–within the same chapter, or even in the same paragraph.

But today we’re going to talk about just writing in third person, which is using that third person pronoun, and actually looking into someone else’s head, as opposed to coming from within. So, I’m going to illustrate this by contrast, and I’m going to give you a sentence that I have written in all three different kinds of narrative. The sentence is, I went to the store and bought some milk. This is written in first person. Second person is illustrated by just changing the first pronoun to you. So you went to the store and bought some milk. So just someone observing one character throughout the entire narrative. And then third person is Quentin went to the store and bought some milk, or you can also replace Quentin’s name with he. So you have someone observing a person from an outside viewpoint.

And the difference between second person and third person is that the second person is always going to be the you form. It’s never going to be a he or a she. The third person will be he or she. And usually the most common ways of writing are in the first and third person. And really I think third person is what I enjoy to read most, but you should just use whatever you’d like to use.

And if you want to use more than one type of narrative within the same book, you can definitely do that because there really are no rules to constrict you.