12.9: Q&A on Viewpoint

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

You had questions about viewpoint. Here they are!

  • Do you have tips and tricks for making 3rd-person omniscient compelling?
  • How do you make 3rd-person limited compelling?
  • Is it normal to need several drafts to nail down a character’s voice?
  • What’s the best way to portray an unreliable 3rd-person limited narrator?
  • What are your most effective methods for immersing yourself in character attributes so that you can get the voice right?
  • How do you choose between 1st and 3rd person?
  • How do you select the viewpoint character for a scene?
  • How do you smoothly transition between viewpoints?
  • How do you prevent character voices from blending into each other and becoming indistinguishable?

(Our answers are in the podcast.)



Swap dialog between characters. How do different characters say the same thing? How do they react when something they would say is said to them?

3 thoughts on “12.9: Q&A on Viewpoint”

  1. If you’re looking for an excellent example of unreliable third-person narration, check out Iphigenia In Aulis by M.R. Carey. The main character is a young girl raised in military confinement and she doesn’t have the context to understand why she’s been raised the way she is, but a genre savvy reader can easily fill in the blanks.

  2. You’ve got questions about viewpoint? Well, the Utah Crew, Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard, have answers! And in the transcript, available in the archives and over here


    you can find out why singing characters are better for third person limited, what kind of hammer you can use to nail down a character’s voice, what happens when a pregnant woman, a pious man, and a lost child wander into a forum, why writers look in the mirror while writing, why 98% bitter chocolate is better, and plenty of other wonders! So read it and weep. Or laugh. But no excuses, just write!

  3. It was mentioned that there’s going to be an upcoming episode about second person; are any of you guys familiar with the Quests that have become popular on a number of forums over the last several years? They aren’t exclusively second person, but many are.

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