7. Language and Style

Page 4 of 10 | Casting a Spell | Viewpoint | First Person | Third Person | Author's Voice | Style | Dialogue |
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Third Person?
Okay, how about third person — he, she, and it. (It? Well, why not? An alien, a robot ...) This is the most commonly used method, and there are some reasons for that.

Third person is versatile. You can tell your reader what your protagonist is thinking and feeling, but you can also provide as rich a descriptive background as you like, and do that in the author's voice. This can be very helpful in setting up and framing your story.

Third person lets you tell your story from multiple viewpoints, giving the reader the benefit of a somewhat intimate "head view" of various characters. This is especially helpful in long, complicated stories where the action may involve many characters.

Depending on your particular mode, you may be able to tell the reader things that your characters don't know. (Caution: Do not do this indiscriminately! Read the section further on about the author's voice!)

For most people, third person is an easier form to master.

Third person tends to be less intimate than first person.

It's easier than you think to get sloppy about point of view, and risk jarring your reader by shifting carelessly from one character's point of view to another.

It's easy to let the author's voice become intrusive, by falling prey to the temptation to let the author pipe up with information all the time rather than revealing the information through the thoughts and actions of the characters. (Knowing when to let the author speak and when not to is largely a matter of practice and experience.)

But as long as we're on the subject of the author speaking, let's segue into . . .


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