Third Person is an objective form of narration that does not describe the thoughts or feelings of the characters.
The narrator is an outsider looking in. Unlike First Person narration, where the narrator is either the main character in the story or closely involved in the events of the story, third person is an outside observer to the events as they unfold. In the third person, the narrator is essentially just a story-teller. You won’t know who this person is. The narrator does not speak to the audience, such as in Second Person where the word “you” is utilized. The narrator also will not use “I” or “We” as is done in First Person.
The narrator also is not Omniscient, therefore will not be able to tell you the thoughts of the various characters, unless those thoughts are spoken aloud by the characters. When writing in Third Person, the words “He”, “She”, “It”, and “They” are the most common terms used. A great classic example of Third Person Point of View is Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen.
Popular novels of this perspective are NOT strictly to be found in the “Classics” so to speak. There are modern novels that are hugely popular in which this format is utilized. A famous example would be The Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin.
Dont be afraid to attempt to write in the Third Person. There are definite benefits to doing so.
When a story is written in Third Person, it is written in the way we experience daily life. We have to utilize the things we see and hear each day to understand the story of life as it unfolds around us. That daily experience lends itself to understanding how to write in Third Person.
None of us are “Omniscient” and can read minds. We do not know what the people around us are thinking, we can only deduce it by what they say and do. So when you are writing in Third Person, your reader will have to deduce what is going on in the characters minds by their words and actions. So this forces you to limit your Character Building out of necessity. You will have to utilize physical description not only for the appearance of the character, but to more accurately convey their emotional state and to hint at what ever emotions they may be feeling in that scene.
This is not a bad thing either. The down side to writing in Omniscient Point of view, is that you are allowed to tell the reader what the character is thinking and feeling. There is no guess work for the reader. It often leads to the reader being able to figure out the ending of the story when they are only halfway through the book. You become in danger of losing your reader that way.
But with Third Person Point of View, you can easily keep them guessing until the end.
Happy Writing Everyone!