Writing in third person gives the writer a freedom that he or she might not experience when writing in first person. Even if you are relating a true story about yourself, it helps to take yourself out of the central character position and write a fictionalized account. Writing from the third person point of view, uses the pronouns, he, she, it or they. Try it, you might be surprised at how expansive your writing becomes.
I live in the mountains where winter can be prolonged and intense with cold and snow. We have the usual snowbirds who leave before the season sets in. Contemplating one friend who fled the mountain as the fahrenheit dropped below freezing, I wrote this little bit of prose. Please note that I took poetic license. What is poetic license? According to an online dictionary, poetic license is “the freedom to depart from the facts of a matter…when speaking or writing in order to create an effect.” This is written from the third person perspective.
To him, winter was a tall, cold Gin Rickey on a hot Florida beach. He left the north like a tornado leaves a small town–in no time, flat. The premonition of snow sent him hurtling off the mountain. That inhospitable mountain which presided so still and godly over all the peons below. That exacting, omnipresent, detached mountain. The lure of that tall, cold beverage, a hot Florida beach and him in his white panama and floral print shirt helped to stave off the bitter taste of guilt as he drove south on Interstate 5. That mountain–a dwindling presence in his rearview mirror…and her standing at the base of it, tears frozen on alabaster cheeks. Yes, he’d fled south, but he was north of something, wasn’t he?
What is winter like where you live? Is there something specific to winter in your territory that you’d like to write about? Is there an acquaintance of yours who has a specific response to this season that is noteworthy? Write (in third person) one paragraph that places someone you know (or you, yourself) in a particular circumstance in the wintertide.
Writing in third person invokes the spirit of play!