third person objective

What’s the Beef with Third Person Objective POV?


Dear Editor…

I’ve always liked the idea of writing in 3rd person objective, which never describes characters’ thought or feeling in favor of a cinematic feel. I’m planning to use it for my multiple-quest YA, but considering I’ve never seen a YA novel written in this POV, and that it’s not mentioned in your Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies, I wonder if it’s generally despised by readers/agents/editors.

Thanks for your thoughts on this,

Dear Harry…

YA readers in particular yearn to connect emotionally with characters. Hence the prevalence of first person (“I”) POV in YA fiction. Third person limited also lets us in on the thoughts and heart of a character. Third person omniscient can drop us into anyone and everyone’s heart and mind. But third person objective stays outside all characters, leaving readers to interpret character moods and thoughts from the action and dialogue. To avoid flat, emotionless storytelling that fails to engage readers, your “show, don’t tell” craftwork needs to fire on all cylinders. If you do pick this POV, use settings with features and props that characters can react to or act upon in truly revealing ways. Imagine two teens arguing, then one storming out a door. Now imagine that teen yanking the doorknob only to have it rip out in her hand. Does she sigh and rest her head on the door? Turn and make up? Kick the freakin’ door down? Force behavior that reveals emotion.

Happy writing!
The Editor