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Third person fiction is the most common form of narrative. It’s the easiest perspective to write from, because it allows a lot of flexibility in how you craft the narrative. You can write as an omniscient observer or as a narrator limited to only the perspective of the characters in the scene. You can even stay attached to the perspective of a single character, without having to resort to using the first person. Here are some pros and cons of writing fiction in the third person.
PRO: It’s the perspective most readers are familiar and comfortable with.
Many readers don’t like first-person or second-person perspectives in fiction. Most readers prefer third person. It’s the most common perspective in fiction writing, so it’s the one most readers are comfortable reading. Some people really don’t like being forced into the perspective of a single character as in first-person fiction. Others find second-person (where you are put into the shoes of the protagonist) confusing and disorienting. Third-person fiction is the most straightforward and easiest to write. While first-person and second-person perspectives can work well when written well, most stories work well when written in third-person.
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Writing styles change over time. Few writers today indulge in the kind of classic writing of Shakespeare or for that matter Mary Lamb or William Bartram. Today's writers are keenly aware of adherence to grammar and punctuation style guides. With regard to punctuation, the use of bold, italics and parentheses depends on sentence structure, grammatical dialogue and plot.
However, ensuring readers clearly understand what you write is always the major goal with the use of visual enhancements. The rule of thumb in writing is to know your readership as well as you know the buyers of your books. There are pros and cons of using italics to designate character thoughts in fiction. Exploring the pros and cons is important for those new to fiction writing.
For every professional writer who has ever published their guidelines, few ever agree on standardization or uniformity when it comes to italics. Thus, it is helpful to study pros and cons of this particular issue.
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Have you ever read second-person fiction? While second-person fiction isn’t nearly as popular as third-person or first-person fiction, putting the reader in the perspective of the main character is something done on occasion. You are probably mostly familiar with second-person perspective as what is used in “Choose Your Own Adventure Books.” But, there are lots of popular books that have used this perspective.
Did you know that big-name authors such as William Faulkner and Leo Tolstoy have dabbled with it in the past? Self-help books often use the second-person perspective, too. However, it’s very hard to write from this perspective well. So, you may ask, what are the pros and cons of using second-person perspective in your own fiction?
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Defining Character Traits for Fiction Novels When it comes to writing a novel, it takes more than plot. You have to have relatable characters, which means they should not be perfect, and they should not conform to the standard. This means that you do not want to create the perfect “good” character, and you do not want to create a 100 percent evil character. Instead, you should strive for a balance. A good character can be flawed, and an evil character can have some good traits. For these reasons, it’s important to define positive and negative character traits either prior to writing the novel or at some point during the writing process.
Types of Character Traits
Character traits can fall into many different categories, including physical, emotional and psychological. The traits you choose may depend on the type of character you are creating or the overall theme of your fiction novel.
The physical traits of your characters include their height, eye color, hair color, tattoos and body modifications, but you can go beyond this and give your characters certain physical defects, like one limb shorter than the other, a defined limp from an old injury and even ailments that limit their physical movements. Don’t be afraid to give your characters physical flaws or even a chronic illness or condition because they can enhance the appeal of the book, deepen the writing and even contribute to the subplots or main plot.
When we think of emotions, we tend to think of the basics, happy, sad, angry, in love and jealous or greedy. While these are a good start, don’t forget about the lesser tackled emotions and emotional malfunctions, including being impulsive, having anger management disorders, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and even drug and alcohol dependency. How a character deals with or doesn’t deal with their emotional hang-ups can make for great writing. For example, if your character has a drug addiction, like Avia, in AVIA I – Thunderstorms and .45s, getting that next fix may be just as important to your character as solving or committing the crime and create a conflicting duality in goals and actions that can lead to interesting plot twists.
Your character’s psychological traits make up his or her personality. Think of these as they relate to the Meijer Briggs Personality test. These are the traits that make your character tick, define how they relate to others and can even impact actions. The Meijer Briggs personality test defines 16 different types of personalities. For example, writers tend to be introverts. They like to be left alone with their thoughts. For that reason, most writers fall under INTJ (The Mastermind), INFP (The Idealist) and ISFP (The Composer). Of course, this doesn’t mean that your introverted self or character can’t have moments of extroversion, but it is something to keep in mind because extroversion for an introverted person or character leads to exhaustion and a need to “recharge” alone. Knowing your character's personality type can define the actions your character takes when confronted with challenges or problems and greatly enhance the depth and breadth of your character development and new novel.
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