point of view

Writing Tips #12 Sacha Rants About the Third Person POV

third person POV

Sacha hates the third person. And she sits tapping at keys on the keyboard all she can think about are the times she has talked aloud or talked about herself in the third person.

“Everyone says you’re mad if you talk about yourself in the third person,” she exclaimed aloud.

Annoyed Sacha waved her hands angrily in the air. Irritation brewing at the thought of how long (weeks) she has tried to write this post. Her aim, was to write the whole thing in the third person, but as she jabs the keys and her blood slowly begins froths and bubble in frustration, doubt settles in… Sacha isn’t sure she can even write consistently in the third person.

Sacha wonders why some people like writing in the third person. She knows that like everything there are fashions in writing. There has been a fashion for writing in the third person for some time, but the last five years has seen a dramatic turn around with the like of young adult fantasy and dystopian trilogies taking centre stage in the popularity stakes.

And amen to that, Sacha thought.

What provoked Sacha to write this post, was her attempt at reading ‘Uglies’ by Scott Westerfield, a book that has been on her ‘to read’ pile for some time. A book that to all intents and purposes should be right up her alley. But as she read it, she became more and more frustrated at the style of writing. It was, of course, written in the third person.

Of course Sacha isn’t trying to be biased, some of her favourite books are written in the third person. However, this particular book pushed her buttons. So much so, she genuinely screen shot particular passages and had to angrily text them to a friend who had read the book.

“But this just sounds ridiculous,” she whined, “don’t you find the repetition of the name ‘Tally’ annoying and disingenuous?”

The phrases that made her send these messages were something like this:

‘Tally found herself wincing’

‘Tally found she hadn’t forgotten to bring the plate’

Sacha doesn’t want to be mistaken, she actually likes the concept in the book, and is going to attempt to finish it… at some point. But ‘Tally found she hadn’t forgotten to bring the plate’,

“REALLY??” Sacha shouted cringing.

This is the perfect example of why Sacha hates the third person. First of all, why didn’t an editor pick this up? Sacha thought indignantly. Particularly because she has her doubts about whether it’s grammatically correct. It doesn’t exactly flow, Sacha would hope that authors at least attempt to set an example for how young adults should write English.

Enough, Sacha thought, before she ran out of steam writing in the third person. Using someones name seems disingenuous, it’s impersonal. Sacha likes nothing better than feeling like she is in the head of a character. Like she becomes the character. Sacha doesn’t think you can get that as well in the third person. Playing God, and writing like your God, if you write in the third person, is just a bit arrogant if you ask Sacha. Ok, perhaps she’s exaggerating a bit, but you can see her point… just read her overly annoying, written in the third person post!

Sacha’s School Boy ‘novel’ Error

Ok, so I am prone to having epiphanies about all manner of things, but this one was particularly useful….

I was driving… I usually am with these sorts of things, which makes it more annoying because I cant write things down whilst driving…

Well I could, but it wouldn’t turn out pretty!

Anyway, I was driving… I don’t remember where, and I was racking my brains about my writers fear, and why I couldn’t get over it, and what the problem really was, because there had to be a problem, I refuse to believe that there is an issue you can’t resolve.

I’ll get to the point in a minute…!

So I have now got a stool, and carpets, and I am in the process of fixing my printer, my studio is only lacking a heater currently, which in the British winter, is kind of essential, I took a friend to the studio the other day and they left looking a healthy shade of blue. So it couldn’t have been any of those things I was postulating about.

So I knew that there had to be something wrong, well this was the conclusion I came to, I decided that there was something wrong with the story.


There was.

The more I thought about it, the more I began to think through all the other writers blogs I have read and all the things they have experienced, and as I worked through it hit me…

I was writing the story from the wrong point of view. The main character isn’t who I thought it was, or who I thought it should have been.

Now, this is a bit of a bitch.

Much as I am delighted to have realised the error in my ways, I have now landed myself with a pile of rewriting and re-planning which is a total ball ache to be honest. But it was like a weight lifted instantly, I have ideas oozing through my fingertips already.

I can’t believe I made such an epic school boy error.

a) how did I not realise?

b) how is the story now telling me what’s right and wrong – that’s just weird.

c) #FML to all the work I now need to re do.

Can I just point out… It’s also fucking monday, and I had a really REALLY bad day, if it wasn’t for the fact I had this epiphany I would have come home and gone straight to bed!!