Sunday, September 5, 2010

In Third Person





To tell a story in third person has its convincing charm. If the narration is in the first person it becomes more often a soliloquy and would also raise question marks about the veracity of the explanations. It may also give way to the feeling that it was concocted. If, when the story is in third person, the narrator tells what is known to him and there will be interregnums when and where the story teller seems to have not much clue about how the plot went. Then it is up to the reader to infer. This is where the art of storytelling comes to play.

Such a fascinating writer was Somerset Maugham! He excelled in narrating in the third person. And the one that stands out in my opinion, amongst his works of excellence, is “The Razors Edge”, (later a Hollywood movie of the same name, made twice in 1946 and again in 1984 starring Bill Murray). The movie was not even a distant shadow of the novel. In fact, this was the literary creation of Maugham that initiated me into his fan club. And I must acknowledge that was one of the good that came about after I got to know and befriend Balan.

I do brood over this subject of describing a story (fiction or otherwise) in third person. It, besides creating an inquisitiveness and involvement in the reader also helps the writer from not being accused of blatancy. Because, describing the fact of the matter is always disapproved and considered blasphemous and insolent.


There are a plethora of subjects around that can be spoken about and commented. But a firsthand account may be alleged odious, covetous and, or fabricated.In many instance facts are stranger and starker than fiction.






6 comments:

RGB said...

Two different styles, each with a charm of its own. And we get to read a story in third person from you soon?

deeps said...

when i began writing blogs, i used to write in third person... even now i do it in my hotmail blog ... + my diary … it gives the added advantage of criticizing oneself…

Sandy said...

As a writer, I think first person is pretty easy but then, third person is easy too. One can write as truth or fiction and this can easily leave the reader to wonder about many things. The biggest thing in writing is holding the attention of your reader...Do they wish to come read more of you; no matter the tense of the character?...

anilkurup said...

@RGB
Oh goodness me, I m no story teller. Only that writing a bit on the Blog is a wonderful pastime occupation.

@ Deeps
Yes in the third person you can stand aloof , away and speak.

@ Sandy
Yes you are right. Bowling over the reader , that is the the thing.Thanks for commenting

The Holy Lama said...

Both versions can be distorted. First person narration may be a bit boring as you see too many 'I"s and third person can be spicier because the writer is not there in person. He can easily put forward his views and arguments as someone else's.

anilkurup said...

@the holy lama,
Thanks for the comments.