Understanding Third Person Objective Point of View: Tips and Examples
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


Defining Third Person Objective

Examples of Third Person Objective

Tips for Writing in Third Person Objective

Benefits of Third Person Objective

Resources for Improving Your Third Person Objective Writing

Are you curious about third person objective point of view in writing? Look no further! This blog will guide you through the ins and outs of this unique narrative style, offering tips and examples to help you master it. So, let's dive right in and explore the fascinating world of third person objective storytelling.

Defining Third Person Objective

In this section, we'll define third person objective point of view and examine its characteristics and common misconceptions. You'll learn what sets this narrative style apart from others and how to recognize it in a piece of writing.

Characteristics of Third Person Objective

Third person objective is a narrative style that uses a neutral, unbiased narrator who doesn't reveal the thoughts or feelings of the characters. The narrator presents the story through an observational lens, focusing on what characters say and do, rather than their inner thoughts. Here are some key features of third person objective storytelling:

  • Neutral: The narrator doesn't take sides or express opinions, maintaining a detached, impartial stance.
  • Observational: The story is told through the actions and dialogue of the characters, rather than their thoughts or emotions.
  • Limited information: Readers don't have access to the characters' thoughts, which can create suspense and intrigue.

Common Misconceptions

Third person objective is often confused with other narrative styles. Let's clear up some common misconceptions:

  • Third person objective vs. third person limited: While both styles use a third person narrator, third person limited allows the reader access to the thoughts and feelings of one character, while third person objective does not.
  • Third person objective vs. third person omniscient: Third person omniscient reveals the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters. In contrast, third person objective keeps the reader in the dark about what characters are thinking or feeling.

Now that we've defined third person objective and explored its characteristics and misconceptions, let's take a look at some examples of this narrative style in literature.

Examples of Third Person Objective

Third person objective is a versatile narrative style used by authors across genres and time periods. In this section, we'll explore examples from classic literature and modern fiction, showcasing the wide range of stories that can be told through this unique point of view.

Classic Literature

Many classic works of literature employ third person objective to create a sense of distance and intrigue. Here are a couple of notable examples:

  • Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants": This short story is a prime example of third person objective, as the narrator only reports the dialogue between the two characters and their actions, leaving their thoughts and feelings up to the reader's interpretation.
  • Anton Chekhov's "The Lady with the Dog": This captivating tale of a chance encounter and subsequent romance also uses third person objective, with the narrator focusing on the characters' actions and conversations without delving into their inner thoughts.

Modern Fiction

Contemporary authors also use third person objective to bring their stories to life. Here are a couple of examples from modern fiction:

  • Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men": McCarthy employs third person objective throughout much of this novel, providing readers with a suspenseful, action-driven narrative that leaves them guessing about the characters' thoughts and motivations.
  • Raymond Carver's "Cathedral": In this short story, Carver uses third person objective to depict the interactions between the narrator, his wife, and a blind visitor, creating a sense of detachment and leaving the reader to infer the characters' emotions from their actions and dialogue.

Now that you've seen third person objective in action, let's explore some tips for writing in this narrative style.

Tips for Writing in Third Person Objective

Writing in third person objective can be a unique challenge, as it requires you to maintain distance from your characters' thoughts and feelings. Here are some tips to help you develop this narrative skill and create engaging stories.

Developing a Narrative Voice

  • Focus on actions and dialogue: Since you're not delving into characters' thoughts, their actions and dialogue are crucial for revealing their personalities and motivations. Ensure that each action and line of dialogue is meaningful and contributes to the story's development.
  • Establish a consistent tone: A strong narrative voice helps immerse the reader in your story. Choose a tone that complements your story's themes and atmosphere, and maintain it throughout your writing.
  • Show, don't tell: Third person objective is all about showing the reader what's happening, rather than telling them. Use descriptive language and sensory details to paint a vivid picture of each scene, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about characters' thoughts and feelings.

Maintaining Objectivity

  • Avoid subjective language: To maintain objectivity, steer clear of words that express judgment or opinion. Stick to facts and observable details, presenting events as they are without coloring them with your own perspective.
  • Be mindful of your word choice: Even seemingly neutral words can carry connotations that unintentionally reveal a character's thoughts or feelings. Choose your words carefully to maintain the third person objective point of view.
  • Limit your focus: Concentrate on one or a few characters at a time, rather than attempting to cover every character's perspective. This helps maintain the objective viewpoint and prevents the narrative from becoming overwhelming.

Using Dialogue Effectively

  • Reveal character through dialogue: Since you can't share the characters' thoughts, use dialogue to reveal their personalities, emotions, and motivations. Make each line of dialogue purposeful and reflective of the character who speaks it.
  • Balance dialogue with action: While dialogue is important for conveying information and character development, don't let it dominate your narrative. Balance dialogue with action and description to create a well-rounded story.
  • Use subtext: Subtext—meaning that lies beneath the surface of dialogue—can add depth and nuance to your characters' interactions. Allow your characters to say one thing while implying another, creating intrigue and inviting readers to interpret the underlying meaning.

With these tips in mind, you're well on your way to crafting engaging stories using the third person objective point of view. Let's now examine the benefits of this unique narrative style.

Benefits of Third Person Objective

While third person objective may initially seem restrictive, it offers several advantages that can enhance your storytelling and engage readers. Here are some key benefits of adopting this narrative style.

Increased Tension and Suspense

  • Limited information: By withholding characters' thoughts and feelings, third person objective creates an air of mystery and intrigue, encouraging readers to pay close attention to actions and dialogue for clues about characters' motivations.
  • Unpredictability: Readers can't predict a character's next move based on their inner thoughts, which adds an element of surprise and keeps them on their toes throughout the story.
  • Ambiguity: The objective viewpoint allows for multiple interpretations of events and characters, fostering discussion and debate among readers and encouraging them to think critically about the story.

Enhanced Storytelling

  • Varied perspectives: Third person objective allows you to shift focus between different characters, providing a broader view of the story's events and enabling you to explore different facets of your narrative.
  • Immersive experience: By focusing on actions and dialogue, third person objective encourages readers to experience the story through their own interpretations, rather than being guided by the author's perspective. This can create a more immersive and engaging reading experience.
  • Heightened emotional impact: Since readers must infer characters' emotions from their actions and dialogue, they become more invested in the story and may experience a stronger emotional connection to the characters and events.

Embracing the third person objective viewpoint can provide new storytelling opportunities and enhance reader engagement. To further develop your skills in this narrative style, consider exploring various resources that can help improve your writing.

Resources for Improving Your Third Person Objective Writing

As with any writing style, mastering third person objective takes practice and dedication. To strengthen your skills, consider the following resources tailored to help you excel in this unique narrative approach.

Writing Workshops

  • Local workshops: Many cities and towns offer writing workshops or classes where you can receive feedback from fellow writers and experienced instructors. These workshops can provide valuable guidance and support as you develop your third person objective writing skills.
  • Online communities: There are numerous online forums and writing communities where you can share your work, receive feedback, and learn from others who are also working to improve their third person objective writing.

Online Courses

  • Free resources: Websites like Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn offer free courses in creative writing that can help you refine your third person objective writing skills.
  • Paid courses: Some platforms, such as MasterClass and Udemy, offer paid courses specifically focused on narrative techniques, including third person objective. These courses, often taught by experts in the field, can provide in-depth instruction and personalized feedback.

Books on Writing

  • General guides: Books such as "On Writing" by Stephen King or "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott offer valuable insights and advice on the craft of writing, including tips for mastering narrative techniques like third person objective.
  • Genre-specific guides: Depending on your preferred genre, consider seeking out books that focus on the unique challenges and techniques associated with that genre. For example, a book like "Writing the Breakout Novel" by Donald Maass can provide guidance on writing compelling third person objective narratives in the realm of fiction.

By taking advantage of these resources and consistently practicing your third person objective writing, you'll be well on your way to crafting captivating stories that keep readers engaged and intrigued.

If you're eager to master three-point perspective in your illustrations and designs, don't miss the workshop 'Three-point Perspective Made Easy' by Roberto Bernal. This workshop offers a comprehensive guide to understanding and applying three-point perspective in your creative projects, making it an invaluable resource for artists of all skill levels.