Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Third Person Voice

So my baby's been out in the world for a week.  I'm not sure what it means.  Most people seem to be able to find it.  Borders seems to carry it more consistently, but I haven't heard of too many problems finding it at BN either.  If your local indie doesn't have it, let them know they should!  Also, I'll be signing some stock at a couple of BN's this week, so if you're in FL and want a signed copy, I'll let you know where they'll be.

But on to other things:

I've been working on a middle grade book.  I tried to write one during NaNo last year.  I finished it but I haven't been able to make it right.  Most of the stories I write are in first person.  I love FP.  It gets me closer to the readers.  I can take them into the narrator's head in ways that third person can't.

However, this particular MG NEEDS to be in third person.  So I've been trying to do that.  Now, when I start a novel in FP, the first thing I have to hear is the narrator's voice.  I can't start until I hear that.  In the case of Ollie, it was irreverent.  In other cases, it's mysterious or cocky.  But in all cases, it's unique.  But my third person voice has always been a stodgy old Brit who sounds like he's narrating something on the history channel.  In other words:  BORING.

I kept writing and deleting, writing and deleting.  My theory is that if I'm bored writing it, you'll be bored reading it.  So last night, I decided to try something.  I created a character.  A peeping Tom, if you will.  Someone who could watch the story unfold but not be part of it. He was a little wicked, and he knew things he wasn't supposed to.

It helped me break out of the boring mode of writing and spruced up my third person voice.

So tell me:  How do YOU do a third person voice?


  1. My third person voice is this guy who can read minds. But, he can only do it one person at a time. So, he can read this characters thoughts. That's not enough. He needs to talk about it. He wants to tell everyone what he sees happening. He's gladly telling the story, even the sad parts. So, you've got this mind-reading, happy person telling you a story. Make sense? It does in my head.

  2. I love your naughty narrator! I reckon that's a brilliant way to approach third person.

  3. I thought you might like to hear that I found 5 copies of your book face-out at a B&N way up here in North Dakota! (Well, now there's only 4 copies.)

  4. The character you found sounds like a great way to approach 3rd person. Cool possibilities there!

    Any time I've written 3rd person, it's been a deep 3rd -- while the narration has a consistency to it (I hope), the language used is particular to each scene's POV character. In my head, the voice is often British, but in a playful, let-me-tell-you-a-tale way. In the book that's out right now, the 3rd person narrator is actually one of the three main characters grown up, though that won't be revealed till the end of the series.

    I recently changed the narration of my WIP from 3rd to 1st person, and it's making me rethink a lot of the pretty prose I had in place. :)


Keep it clean, keep it classy, and jokes are always appreciated.