Monday, January 26, 2009

Third-Person Supporting Character Narrator (5th in a series)

This POV offers no real advantage and is in fact difficult to use in an effective manner. The problem lies in its inherent ambiguity. It forces the writer to use multiple references. The following is an example of the problem:
What follows is taken from Structuring Your Novel: From Basic Idea To Finished Manuscript by Robert C. Meredith and John D. Fitzgerald:

Fred James was tired as he and Jim Harding found the trail leading to the old mine. He knew they couldn't reach the mine before nightfall. He watched Jim stare at the weeds and bushes that had grown over the trail. He asked Jim if he would mind camping where they were overnight.

The last sentence was purposely written to illustrate this POVs major disadvantage, which is that the narrator must refer to the protagonist as He. In the same paragraph, the protagonist refers to the narrator as he which in the hands of an inexperienced writer can lead to confusion on the reader's part--this could be disastrous...

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