[Writing Prompt] Third Person, Limited Perspective

Today, it’s back to the tried and true, a format you’re probably much more familiar with than yesterday’s Second Person. Yes, today we write in Third Person, Limited Omniscience, perspective.

All of which means, you get inside a character’s head and stay there.

The Prompt

Write A Story in The Third Person, Limited Perspective

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[Prompt] – May 22 – Third Person Limited

This week’s prompts are all about point of view and narrative voice.

Write a story from the third person limited POV.

“Third Person, Limited” means that, unlike yesterday, your narrator never says “I did this”, rather you talk about “he went to the door”, “He opened it.”

The ‘Limited” part means that all the judgements and assumptions, all internal thoughts are limited to those of the character through whom you are telling the story. No popping out of Dave’s head to jump across the room and tell us what Mandy is thinking as she looks at him. The only thing we’re privy to is what Dave thinks Mandy might be thinking about him.

Within this framework you can still play with the form: your limited persona can be like Nick Carraway, reporting on Jay Gatsby’s life, rather than telling us about his own adventures. You can give your limited persona the ride of her life through a whitewater canyon and let us see it all from her perspective.

Third person limited is great for short stories, because it lets us – the readers – identify with one character, and ground the story somewhere. You don’t have much space in a short story and the last thing you want is to confuse your readers (unless, of course, the whole point of your story is to confuse your readers!). Letting them get to know a character by showing their reactions to events, puts you half way to rooting for (or against) the protagonist.