Third-person narration is often used in thrillers to create suspense and tension. It’s a more objective point of view, which can be used to make the reader feel like they are watching the action unfold from a distance.
There are three types of third-person narrators: the objective narrator, the omniscient narrator, and the limited narrator. Each one has its own unique perspective and purpose.
This blog post will discuss each type of third-person narrator in detail!
The third-person point of view and its limitations
Although a third-person narration can help create a sense of detachment or objectivity for the reader, it can also limit an author’s ability to create intimacy with the reader.
Additionally, it can make it difficult to show a character’s thoughts and emotions. Third-person perspectives are often used when the author wants to distance themself from the story or when they want to create a more objective view of events.
How a third-person point of view can limit an author’s ability to create suspense and tension
Authors use third-person narration to create suspense by limiting the reader’s knowledge of the story. By revealing only what the narrator can see or know, the author can control when and how the reader learns about events and characters in the story. This creates a sense of anticipation and uncertainty that builds tension in the plot.
However, the third-person narrative voice can also limit an author’s ability to create suspense by revealing too much information. When readers are privy to all characters’ thoughts, feelings, and motives, it diminishes their ability to wonder what will happen next. Instead, they may feel like they are being told what will happen, which robs the story of its suspenseful elements.
Examples of how a third-person point of view can be used to create tension in a thriller:
1. By keeping the reader at arm’s length can make them feel like they are powerless to help the protagonist.
2. It can be used to build up suspense by withholding information from the reader or revealing it slowly.
3. The narrator can observe the characters’ thoughts and feelings without intruding on their privacy. This allows readers to get inside the heads of both.
How a third-person omniscient point can provide readers with insight into characters’ feelings and thoughts
The omniscient point can give the readers insight into characters’ feelings by “reading their minds” or simply divulging information that the character would not know.
For instance, if a narrator knows that a particular character is feeling insecure about her appearance, the narrator might mention something that the character herself would not be aware of.
This technique allows readers to explore characters’ inner thoughts and feelings in greater depth.
How an objective narrator can help create a sense of detachment from the story for readers
One way is to develop a sense of objectivity by detachment from the story. This can help make sure that your readers can understand the events of the story without being influenced by your own personal biases.
The third-person objective narration is often used in thrillers. This type of narrator is not biased and does not share the thoughts or feelings of any particular character. The objective third-person point of view simply reports on what happens without interpretation or opinion.
Benefits and drawbacks of using a third-person limited narration in a thriller novel
The limited third-person point of view is restricted to what one character can see or know; this point of view can create a more intimate connection between reader and character.
There are some definite benefits to using a third-person limited narrator in a thriller. For one, it allows you to keep your readers in suspense by not letting them in on everything that’s going on. You can also use this point of view to build up empathy for your protagonist by showing what they’re thinking and feeling as they navigate their way through the story.
However, there are some drawbacks to this perspective as well. One is that it can be harder to pull off convincingly if you’re not a skilled writer. Another is that readers may have trouble connecting with the characters if they feel like they’re being kept at arm’s length.
Examples from thrillers that use each characteristic to great effect:
1. Objective third-person narrators
The first way is to use the narrator to stay out of the action and provide objective information about the characters and their surroundings. This type of narrator is often used early in the story, before the plot has thickened, to give readers all the relevant clues they need to piece together what’s going on.
The third-person objective point is completely impartial and provides no insight into the thoughts or feelings of any character. They’re best suited for stories where the focus is on events rather than characters.
For example, in The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, the objective third-person narration creates an atmosphere of suspense and unease as we, along with the narrator, try to piece together what happened to the girl who went missing.
In Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, the objective third-person narration keeps us guessing about the protagonist’s true intentions. Is she a victim or a mastermind?
In The Catcher in the Rye, the third-person narrator gives us an objective view of Holden Caulfield’s thoughts and experiences.
In John Grisham’s novel The Firm, the objective narrator slowly reveals clues to the reader that Tom Cruise’s character is being framed for a crime he didn’t commit.
2. Omniscient third-person narrators
This type of narrator knows everything about the characters in the story and can move freely between their thoughts and experiences. They get close to the characters, sharing their thoughts and feelings, thereby adding tension and suspense by making readers wonder what secrets they’re hiding.
An example of an omniscient narration can be found in Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake, where the third-person narrator gives us insight into the lives of both parents and their son as they adjust to life in America.
3. Limited third-person narrators
The final type of third-person narrator is the limited third-person narrator, who reveals only what the protagonist reveals to them, so they can be used to great effect in thrillers to create suspense.
This type of narration creates a more intimate and personal story, as readers only experience events through the eyes of one person.
An example of this is Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, where the third-person narrator gives us insight into the life of a young woman who is living in a dystopian world where people are created to be organ donors.
In Throwaway by David Baldacci, limited third-person narration is used to slowly reveal clues about the protagonist’s past that helps explain his present situation and motivate him to take action.
In Stephen King’s novel Misery, the limited narrator allows us to experience the terror and helplessness of the protagonist as he is held captive by a deranged fan.
Another great example is in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, where the narrator focuses on Dr. Alan Grant’s point of view while also providing information about what the other characters are doing.
Ultimately, it’s up to you as the author to decide whether or not the third-person perspective is right for your story. If you think it will help you achieve your desired effect, then go for it! Just be aware of the potential pitfalls and make sure you know how to avoid them.
If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help. Just let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!