The purpose of these exercises is to explore how it feels to write using Third Person Limited Point of View (POV).
This POV option restricts you to one character’s heart and mind at a time, which gives readers time to engage deeply with that character’s desires and struggles.
Choose one character whose POV you will explore. Ideally, it will be the character with the most to lose in the scene, so you can fully immerse readers in the emotional drama.
Write a scene showing only what this one character can see, hear and know. Use third person pronouns, i.e. he, him, she, her and they.
Check emotional labels
When describing how other characters feel, make sure the POV character doesn’t make assumptions by saying they are angry, sad, annoyed, etc. because they can’t possibly know what is going on in someone else's head or heart. Instead, show what the other characters are doing and have the POV character make assumptions about how they feel.
No – Bob knew Jenny was sad.
Yes – Jenny’s lower lip twitched, tears welled in her eyes and she sniffed. Bob handed her a tissue.
Check POV descriptions
Remember, the POV character shouldn’t describe how they look because they can’t see themselves (unless they’re looking at a reflection). Instead, describe how they feel.
No – Bob blushed.
Yes – Bob felt his cheeks heat, mortified at being caught in the act.
Check for head hopping
Make sure you haven’t inadvertently written what another character feels/thinks.
Also, check that you don’t change to another POV character too often. Try to stay in one character’s head for a significant part of a chapter.
Take a look at what you’ve learnt about limiting your view to one character and how this compares to other POVs you have tried.
Once you have completed this exercise, leave a comment below to share your experience and how it has helped your writing craft or story.
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