Communities

Writing
Writing
Codidact Meta
Codidact Meta
The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors
Photography & Video
Photography & Video
Scientific Speculation
Scientific Speculation
Cooking
Cooking
Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Judaism
Judaism
Languages & Linguistics
Languages & Linguistics
Software Development
Software Development
Mathematics
Mathematics
Christianity
Christianity
Code Golf
Code Golf
Music
Music
Physics
Physics
Linux Systems
Linux Systems
Power Users
Power Users
Tabletop RPGs
Tabletop RPGs
Notifications
Mark all as read
Q&A
Parent

How can I make a transition from third person omniscient to first person less jarring for the reader?

+3
−0

I'm working on a longish short story (I expect to hit somewhere around 5,000 - 6,000 words by the time I'm through) that starts out in third person omniscient POV, mostly because that allows me to peer into the heads of the various characters while still keeping a reasonable word count. So far, that's working pretty well for the first part, which is mostly setup for later events.

However, I feel that first person POV would likely work better later in the story, as I expect it would help the reader get into the head of the one character I plan on following in that part of the story.

So basically, I want one part of the story to be in third person omniscient, and another part in first person. How can I make that transition less jarring for the reader?

Or is this just a really, really, really bad idea and I should stick to either one?

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.
Why should this post be closed?

0 comment threads

Post
+2
−0

Like this answer, I don't think you need to use first-person to get into a character's head. I want to focus a little more on how to do that in omniscient third-person.

An omniscient narrator can get into any character's head, as you said. You want to switch to first-person, maybe to focus ("we're following this character") or maybe to get deeper thoughts than narrate well (too many "X thought"s and "Y contemplated"s feel clunky). But there's a style of third-person narration that still lets you do that: revealing a character's inner voice. You can present the inner voice alongside action and dialogue.

This needs to be set off typographically. I'm used to seeing italics for this. So you'd have something like:

"Yeah boss, I can do that", Mark conceded. Again.

"Good. Have it on my desk by Monday."

With every step he took from Peter's office he grew more irritated. Why is it always me? I'm not the one who forgot to fill out those TPS reports. I told him that Sam had dropped the ball again. I shouldn't have to clean up after that loser just because he's the CEO's kid.

He felt his jaw tighten into a snarl. Calm down, Mark. Can't let that show. He took a deep breath, with effort relaxed into a neutral expression, and continued toward his cubicle, just in time to pass Sam on what must have been his sixth trip to the breakroom that morning.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

1 comment thread

General comments (1 comment)

Comments on How can I make a transition from third person omniscient to first person less jarring for the reader?

General comments
Canina‭ wrote over 2 years ago:

This was very helpful. Thank you.

This community is part of the Codidact network. We have other communities too — take a look!

You can also join us in chat!

Want to advertise this community? Use our templates!

Like what we're doing? Support us! Donate