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How to Rewrite Your Story in the Third Person

Writing a story in the first person is comparatively easy, it’s essential for writers to be able to write in the third person as well. Both first and third person have their pros and cons, one may work for some while one for another. With this exercise, you will be able to add an effective writing skill to your toolbox. It shows you new directions when you rewrite your story in the third person that you hadn’t considered before.

We, as writers, are rather too focused on what we think about the story than what it becomes on the page. By changing point of view, you get a new perspective, inspiring ideas, chunks of fiction that you haven’t explored before, plus, deeper and more introspective fiction.

How to Rewrite Your Story in the Third Person

1) Choose a compelling scene from a piece that you have written recently. A piece which includes both exposition and dialogue.

2) Take your time. Rewrite the piece in the third person point of view. You will need to consider whether you want to use the third person omniscient or limited. It will be easier to try the limited first.

3) Notice how the change in point of view changes the tone, voice, and mood of the story. Notice the freedom you get as a narrator.

4) New voice helps to develop plot and character. List 3-4 advantages of new point of view and how it helps to refine and structure your story.

5) List the limitation of the third person point of view with regard to the particular piece. Explore the ways you can develop the central character. Notice, if the voice is strong or weak. If it’s weak, try a new point of view.

6) If the new point of view works well with this scene, change the point of view of the entire piece. Else, return to your original.

Tips

1) Even if changing to the third person point of view has not improved this particular piece, be open to it in future work. Use the lessons learned in this exercise to evaluate point of view in all the fiction you write. As you become more comfortable with the third person, you might effectiveness it can provide helps you have a new perspective on your narrative.

2) Lorrie Moore has a good explanation for how she chooses Point Of View(POV): “There are times when the first person is necessary for observing others (not the protagonist) in a voice that simultaneously creates a character usually the protagonist; then there are times when the third person is necessary for observing the protagonist in a voice that is not the character’s but the story’s.”

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