If you have decided to write your novel in third person POV, you have a few more POV decisions to make. You know what is going on in each of your character’s heads, but you have to decide how many of those characters’ heads you’re going to open up to your readers. One character? Many? All? I will discourage you from the “all” choice. As a reader, I want to get into only a few characters and live through them. Too many main characters can turn off your readers, unless you are writing a huge historical or family saga – 110,000 words or more – with a large cast of characters.
Presenting the thoughts of only one character to your readers is much like choosing the first person POV, and can be a very effective way to bind your reader into that character and the story, but most writers choose third person POV because they want more than one narrator in the story. Whatever you choose (limited – one character ) or limited omniscient (a few characters) or omniscient (all characters), there are a couple of “rules” that will make your third person POV choice more effective as you convey your story to your reader.
1. Introduce your POV characters relatively soon in the manuscript if at all possible. Sometimes the plot makes that impossible, but you don’t want a character to suddenly pop up and begin narrating events in a way that seems like you, the novelist, have lost control of your story.
2. If you have chosen an omnicient or limited omnicient third person POV with multiple narrators, and you switch narration from one character to another, be sure to start a new paragraph each time you switch narrators. Actually, I almost always start a new chapter when I switch narrators.
Your Assignment for the week: Write more scenes. Again don’t worry about chronology, just write! Have fun trying the same scene from different characters’ Points of View.
Q4U: Do you prefer reading novels that are presented from multiple points of view or from the POV of one main character? Does you choice differ if you read different genres, for example historical novels as compared to romances?