Perfecting Point of View: How to Write in Third Person

how to write in third person
by CJ McDaniel // July 12  

Writing from a third-person point of view is an integral skill that all writers should master. Through third-person narration, writers can successfully convey stories or relay information without making their presence known in the narrative and using personal pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘We.’ Writing a third-person narrative is one of the most prevalent writing techniques used today, making up almost one-third of narrative texts published worldwide. In this article, we’ll look into the advantages and practical tips associated with writing in the third person for fiction and business memo writing, so if you want to improve your writing abilities while impressing readers with third-person narrative writing skills – read on!

Writing in the third person is an indispensable skill for writers of any genre and type, from fiction and academic essays to journalistic pieces. Employing a third-person narrative allows writers to maintain an objective perspective while focusing on multiple characters simultaneously and adding complexity to their storytelling. This comprehensive guide offers insightful tips and techniques for mastering this art form.

Understanding Third Person Point of View

Before diving deep into writing in the third person, it is crucial that one has a thorough grasp of its unique characteristics. A third-person narrative typically uses pronouns such as “he,” “she,” “it,” they,” and “one” rather than first and second-person “I” and “we.” The third person establishes distance from characters or events being written about, providing readers with an expanded view.

Three Major Varieties

Third-person writing has three general categories: objective, limited, and omniscient. Each provides perspective and benefits depending on your goals and requirements as a writer.

  • Third-Person Objective: In this style, the writer acts as an impartial observer who reports events and actions without delving deeper into characters’ thoughts or emotions – this style is commonly employed when writing news stories and journalistic pieces.
  •  Third-Person Limited: This approach allows writers to focus on one character’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences while adhering to third-person narrative conventions. Essentially, they gain access to this character’s inner life while using external actions and dialogue for story delivery.
  •  Third Person Omniscient: Writing from an omniscient point-of-view allows writers access to multiple characters’ thoughts, feelings, and experiences simultaneously, allowing for greater insight into a narrative arc. It is widely employed in classic literature as it offers greater room for creativity for authors.

Methods for Mastering Third Person Writing

Here are a few key pointers:

  • Establish an in-depth knowledge of Your Characters: Understanding your characters’ motivations is vital when writing third person. Using third-person narration, creating character profiles is extremely helpful when conveying actions and emotions more accurately. Consider creating character sketches outlining individual characters’ personality traits, backstories, motivations, and desires.
  •  Strike a Balance Between Showing and Telling: When writing in the third person, it is key to strike an equilibrium between showing what’s happening through actions, dialogue, and physical descriptions and telling via narration or exposition. While vivid descriptions may draw the reader in immediately to a scene unfolding before them, insightful narration can provide vital context and insights into characters and their motivations and drives.
  •  Prevent Head-Hopping: One of the greatest challenges associated with third-person writing lies in transitioning between characters’ points of view. Attempts at head-hopping can cause readers to become confused or disoriented; establish clear boundaries when switching perspectives between sections or chapters for an uninterrupted reading experience.
  •  Maintain Consistency of Narrative Voice: No matter which third-person perspective you opt for, maintaining an even voice throughout is vitally important in creating an engaging narrative and effectively relaying your story to readers. This ensures a successful story experience!
  •  Enhance Your Dialogue Skills: Dialogue is the cornerstone of third-person writing, as it serves an invaluable purpose: it conveys key plot details, establishes relationships between characters, and provides insights into their emotions and thoughts. Focusing on crafting convincing yet authentic dialogue that enhances narrative will significantly strengthen your third-person writing style.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does it mean to write in the third person? A: Writing in the third person involves using pronouns and a narrative voice that refer to characters or individuals using pronouns such as “he,” “she,” and “they” rather than pronouns such as “I,” “we,” etc.

Q: Why would anyone choose to write in the third person? A: Writing from the third person perspective creates an air of objectivity and distance while broadening one’s viewpoint – making it ideal for storytelling, academic papers, or maintaining a professional tone.

Q: How do I write in the third person? A: To do so, begin using pronouns such as “he,” “she,” or “they” when referring to characters or individuals instead of using terms like “I” and “we.”

Q: Should I switch between first person and third person in my writing?
A: For best results, it is advised to maintain consistency of point of view throughout a piece of writing. Switching back and forth from third to first person may need to be clarified for readers or interrupt the narrative flow.

Q: What are some examples of third-person pronouns?
A: Examples of third-person pronouns may include “he,” “she,” and “it.” Additionally, third-person pronouns could include the words: “he,” she, “it, “they,” “him,” “them,” his,” “their,” “her,” or there.”

Q: Should I refer to characters by their names or pronouns when writing third person? A: That depends on the context and style you’re following, though generally, names or pronouns are fine as long as they remain clear and consistent.

Q: How can I avoid falling back into first-person narration while writing third person? A: Be wary of pronoun usage and sentence structure. Instead of using “I,” look to use pronouns like “he,” “she,” or “they” when referring to characters or people within your writing.

Q: Can third-person writing use verb tenses such as past, present, and future? A: No set rules apply when using third-person writing regarding verb tenses. Choose what best matches your intended meaning while maintaining consistency throughout.

Q: Can I include my characters’ thoughts and emotions in third-person writing? A: Absolutely – this can be accomplished either indirectly or directly through, as well as through dialogue.

Q: How can I maintain consistency when writing in the third person? A: To keep your narrative voice consistent when writing in the third person, always use third-person pronouns and verb forms. This will allow readers to follow your story easily.

Q: Can non-fiction writing be done in the third person? A: Absolutely – this form of non-fiction writing can be done using a third-person point of view and is frequently employed in academic papers, research articles, journalistic pieces, and biographies.

Q: Are There Any Restrictions When Writing Third-Person Narratives? A: Writing third-person narratives has fewer restrictions compared to first-person ones, yet may need more personal perspective and intimacy that are present when using first-person narrators.

Q: What can I do to practice writing in the third person? A: To gain practice writing using third-person pronouns and narrative voice, practice short stories, scenes, or descriptive passages using them and read examples of third-person writing to understand its nuances and techniques.

Q: May I switch between third-person limited and omniscient points of view? A: Yes, third-person limited and third-person omniscient are both common narrative perspectives in third-person writing. Third-person limited provides insights into one character’s thoughts and experiences, while third-person omniscient provides access to many characters’ viewpoints and viewpoints.

Q: Can dialogue be written in the third person? A: Absolutely – you can write dialogue using dialogue tags such as he said” or she asked. “


Mastering third-person writing requires developing an in-depth knowledge of its different viewpoints and being adept at striking an effective balance between showing and telling while creating authentic dialogue. By cultivating such skill sets while maintaining consistency in narrative voice and perspective, you will have everything necessary for creating riveting third-person narratives that engage your readers and effectively communicate your story to readers.

Writing in the third person is an increasingly popular trend across academic, journalistic, and fictional writing genres. Third person allows writers to maintain objectivity when depicting characters or events without becoming emotionally invested in themselves. Here we cover some basics about third-person writing, including selecting an appropriate point of view, using pronouns correctly, and keeping text consistent throughout its length.

Selecting an effective point of view when writing in the third person is key for writing successful third-person narratives. Keep your story’s audience and purpose in mind when selecting pronouns and perspectives; for instance, if your story relies heavily upon one character without divulging too much personal info or emotions to its readership, third-person limited may be more suitable. At the same time, multi-character stories would benefit more from a third-person Omniscient perspective.

Pronoun usage is key when writing in the third person. Pronouns like he, she and it adds clarity and distinction between characters and objects in your text, so be consistent in using third-person pronouns throughout.

Assuring continuity between the point of view and pronoun usage in third-person narrative is paramount for successful third-person storytelling. Any shift between first person and third person may cause readers to become disoriented; additionally, shifting pronoun usage during dialogue could further disorient readers regarding who’s speaking at any particular time.

Writing in the third person requires careful consideration of point of view, pronoun usage, and consistency throughout the text. By adhering to these guidelines, authors can present characters and events objectively while engaging readers more fully with their stories.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!