4 Ways To Make Limited Third Person Into Deep POV by Lisa Hall-Wilson - Canada


Are you writing (or wanting to write) in limited 3rd person POV or Deep POV? Many blogs write as though the these two popular fiction styles are the same and it muddies the water quite a bit leading to a great deal of confusion. Deep POV came out of limited third person, and they have some similarities, but they are in fact different in style and strategy.

Have you joined the free Facebook group Going Deeper With Emotions in Fiction where I share tips and teach about Deep POV?

Third person POV has a three different styles: omniscient third, objective third, and limited third. This distinction is important to understand the intent behind limited third person and how it differs from deep point of view.

Omniscient third person uses an all-knowing narrator who not only reports on facts but may interpret those facts through the perspective (thoughts) of any of the characters. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events is an example of omniscient third.

Objective third person is an all-knowing narrator who doesn’t go inside the character’s head much at all. The reader gets what the narrator observes. Hemingway wrote in objective third.

Limited third person limits the narrator voice to one character’s experience (thoughts) at a time and usually with a very limited cast of characters. The reader gets one character’s point of view (at a time), but the story is told by the author. Limited third has varied flexibility in how strictly the author limits themselves.

Deep POV developed out of limited third person. Deep POV aims to remove the author/narrator voice entirely and write AS the character to create an immersive experience for readers. Here are the top ways I can think of that make these writing styles different.

Author Voice

In close 3rd person, the author is telling the story about the character. The reader is brought in close to the character’s perspective through dialogue and thoughts (internal dialogue), but the author or another narrator-type voice is telling the story. Because of this, the author voice can share a good deal of information that the point of view character doesn’t know, wouldn’t think, etc. Some author will limit how much of this they do, but it’s still not deep POV.

In Deep POV, you’re writing AS the character instead of about them. The reader experiences the story as the character experiences the story to create an immersive effect. (Learn more about immediacy here) That means, all those author-voice bits become author intrusion or telling in deep POV. The reader can only know what the point of view character knows, sees, hears, intuits, learns, etc. even when not writing speech or internal dialogue. Every word written comes from the POV character’s perspective.


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