Narration – part 5

by juliusmsanz

I’ll tell you this right now: it’s going to be a very short post because I miscalculated my free time. Sundays are often like that.

Let’s continue talking about narration, can’t believe it’s part 5 already, and I’ve barely scratched the surface!

Third-person narration or view is an extremely common way to tell a story. Most of the greats use it, and it fits everything, every single genre. Now I ask why. When you are writing in first-person or second-person you are limited to what you can do, you can’t just change style and expect everything to be ok. Using third-person you can play God.

Authors, or writers, whatever you want to call them, creators even, feel sometimes that they can do just whatever they want with their stories. While that is technically true, when you get to it you realize that you are bound, that you are in shackles because you subjected yourself to a certain style and now you can’t pull the plug. When you are using first-person this often happens because sometimes you wish you could be an omnipresent narrator, and you are stuck with one or two characters. This is common because author and narrator aren’t necessarily the same. Author is the one who writes and a narrator is the one who tells the story. It might sound simple enough, but how often one can forget about this.

When you are using one perspective you just can’t explain everything you want 100% of the time. But all of that can change using third-person narrative, provided you do it the right way.

Let me address something simple for today: the fact that you write he, she instead of you and I. You can make dialogues look much better using third person, you can personalize your characters better and you can surely show much better instead of telling. Because if you are using first-person narrative you are doing a whole lot more of telling than showing. The principle behind show, don’t tell, is, if I’m not mistaken, to portray your characters in ways that showcase the emotions they are feeling, not explicitly saying what are they feeling. The same applies, in a way, to scenarios. Let me give you a clear-cut example: you cannot make a brute tell you about a certain stunning scenery or even painting. They won’t appreciate it and they certainly won’t be able to describe it properly so your readers know what you’re talking about.

That’s it for today, see you again tomorrow for part 6.

Have a nice day!