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Brandon Sanderson Lecture 3: Third person viewpoints (3/5)

441 ratings | 42784 views
Brandon discusses the strengths and pitfalls of writing in the third person viewpoint. Next up: Description part 1 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUpZ5r5CyNw. See the entire class in one place with notes at http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/home/brandon_w2012/ Help us caption & translate this video! http://amara.org/v/CVf8/
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Text Comments (44)
tvlover (3 months ago)
This guy is amazing seriously
The number of comments about the Gummy Bears vs writing is, in itself, a commentary on the scientific inquiry into the amount of DNA that can be squished into the average Gummy Bear by 42 seconds of outright molestation.
Camae (9 months ago)
Would you eat that green gummy bear?
Yello Duzzit (11 months ago)
Do people really want the gummy bear that he's been molesting the entire time?!
Lightwavers (10 months ago)
...Yes.
Pretty Bitchy Bee (11 months ago)
ugh, please don't eat those Gummy bears guys. He should pass out WRAPPED candies instead of the ones he openly teases, pokes and plays with. Enjoyed the lesson though.
lynx lot (11 months ago)
For those people saying the gummy bears disgusting,they dont eat,they keep it or sell it.
Oya (1 year ago)
Great info, but the genetically imprinted gummy bears? No thanks!
Si Barron (1 year ago)
why would anyone want to eat a gummy bear that has been pinched, teased and played with by sweaty hands for five minutes?
samdean77 (1 year ago)
I wonder if he judges each student's submission levels by the number of times they eat the gummy bears
Katherine Al Rashdan (2 years ago)
This guy is awesome. Great teacher. But don't eat the gummy bears! He's squishing them. Eeek
J.C. Henry (3 years ago)
I like the 3rd person viewpoint for reading and I realized that 1st person viewpoint is easier to understand when it is an audiobook.
Keegster (2 years ago)
That makes a lot of sense, since third person allows you to feel like that character (so of course you don't hear his voice; his voice is your voice, sort of). But in first person, it sounds like someone talking to you, just like someone talking to you in an audiobook.
Worth Doing Write (3 years ago)
This may sound a tad childish, but I think the amount of views falling off from the first video shows how most lack the perseverance to be an accomplished writer.
ZeinaSereia10 (3 years ago)
Stellar lecture, as always. A question regarding third person viewpoint: If your novel has two protagonists, can there be two 3rd person POVs within the same chapter if you have two scene breaks (i.e. each scene is written in the POV of each protagonist)? Thanks!
BatteryBrain (10 months ago)
ZeinaSereia10 You can do whatever you want!
Isabella Akasha (1 year ago)
Also to add more to what I said before scene breaks are similar to Time Skips. Lots of authors have chapters where the reader can see through the eyes of a character.Even I had a story once on my google drive where I used third person limited.Be sure not to mix it up with another thing that I can not remember the name of.If I were you I would use different fonts for the different viewpoints.I do it for character flashbacks and it`s great! If you happen to want to take it a step further you can even describe what they are feeling at that moment, most authors, however, don`t go that far.If you want any further information just contact me. -Signed,6eadd
Isabella Akasha (1 year ago)
Yes to your question ZeinaSereia 10.In my opinion, having scene breaks is a must and it makes it easier to move the story along.Some authors write stories where one protagonist tells the readers what they can see and their feelings.Also yes to the question about scene breaks and it`s sometimes what so authors do it`s a time skip to speed the story along. -Signed,6eadd
ZeinaSereia10 (2 years ago)
Wow, thanks for the helpful comment.
Trey Beatty (2 years ago)
If you read Joe Abercrombie, you'll see that he does this quite often. For instance, in his book "Before They are Hanged," a group of people are travelling in search of a mystic artifact (more complicated than that, but you'll have to read the book!). There are three viewpoint characters in this group: Logen, Luthar, and Ferro. All three have viewpoint sections in the same chapter multiple times. You get to see the same scene through three very different characters' viewpoints. I would say all three could be considered protagonists, maybe not so much Ferro.
Blake Arthur Peel (3 years ago)
That hat looks like something Wayne would wear
isectoid (3 years ago)
*I'm batman*
HeavyMetalGaming (3 years ago)
I would have gotten my gummy bear autographed after the class.
Sam (2 years ago)
Lol with his handwriting... :D
Dingus (4 years ago)
m-m-m'lady
Wilbur Walsh (4 years ago)
A question to third person limited: When you write from a characters viewpoint, is it okay to describe what other characters are able to perceive through their senses, or would this break the rule? For example, John (viewpoint character) and Tom are in a room. Could you say "Tom stared into John's blue eyes," or would this be an incorrect application of the third person limited rule? And taking it a step further: "Tom stared into John's eyes which flashed in anger." This would even give another quality to the mere sense of sight, as Tom even interpreted the way John was looking back at him (i.e. 'in anger'). Would any of these examples break the rule?
Me Myself and I (3 years ago)
+J. C. Ungelt To add to what Noah said: whenever you're describing the behavior of a non-point-of-view character in 3rd limited, filter it through the eyes of the perspective character--because it's through his perspective that the reader is witnessing it. The only thing that makes your example problematic is that a perspective character wouldn't notice his own eye color, so when you mention that Tom's staring into John's *blue eyes*, it gives the impression that the reader is now experiencing the action through Tom's perspective instead of John's. But it would still be considered John's perspective to state that "Tom stared into John's eyes." You might give an emotional cue as to how John is interpreting Tom's behavior but otherwise it could still work for third limited. The same could be said for your second example (John wouldn't recognize that his own eyes were "flashing in anger"...this reads as Tom's interpretation of John's emotions, which is inappropriate if this is through John's viewpoint).
Noah Hill (4 years ago)
+J. C. Ungelt As a rule of thumb you don't want to directly state that a non-viewpoint character is feeling. However, if you look at what an emotion LOOKS like, it can be a great way to show what another character is feeling, or at least how they are reacting. For example, you could say "Tom stared into John's eyes, which bulged in disbelief" - This tells us WHY Tom knows that John is disbelieving (I used disbelief because it was easier to think of an eye-based example for than anger). You can also use the unreliable narrator in third person limited, if you are doing a tight third person where the narrative is colored by your character's perceptions. An example of using unreliable narrator in that sentence would be to say "Tom stared into John's eyes, which seemed to flash in anger." - The 'seemed to' leaves it open for interpretation. Was John really angry? Did Tom misread John's emotional state?
Videodeathtyl (4 years ago)
This guy is just amazing. Brilliant infos and a cool presentation-style.
One Minute Insights (5 years ago)
One does not simply eat a gummy bear if it is given to you by Mr Sanderson. You worship it. Forever.
vahlengard gmail (4 years ago)
Bow before thy gummy god.
Sophrosynicle (5 years ago)
The gummy bear becomes your totem, your hallow, your relic, your shadow.
Apofisu (5 years ago)
Speaking of multiple characters in first person, untrustworthy narrator, and epistolary... I heard of a book that is in the form of a journal belonging to someone with multiple personality disorder, where the narrator switched between the didn't personalities. (the edition the person I knew had even used different colored inks for the various personalities) anyone heard of this and know the title?
ThisnThatPackRat (5 years ago)
Rockin' the Amish mafia look, I see.
JWhitt987 (5 years ago)
Thanks for uploading this. I always thought it would be cool to sit in on one of his classes and now I can. He makes me think about Chandler Bing in the middle seasons of Friends from that shirt and his expressions from time-to-time.
Krazy Lobster (6 years ago)
You don't eat a gummy bear Brandon gives you. You keep it. For posterity. For cloning.
amaxamon (6 years ago)
He misspelt "careful" :P
Nexus Wolf (1 year ago)
amaxamon.... No he didn't
stuttersomthing (6 years ago)
im sorry but i wouldn't be able to eat those gummy bears, all i can see is him completely decomposing them and reforming them from his own cells.
XeithJW (6 years ago)
I would in hope of gaining some of his awesomeness.
JamSamJackx (6 years ago)
How can people eat gummy bears that this guy just plays with in his hands for 2 minutes??
Nat (6 years ago)
Thank you for sharing this! Very helpful for those of us who can't take writing classes as we sludge through writing our novels.
MMZTigerfox (7 years ago)
Ooh Red! Someone's ADD lol.
TheSquarecow (7 years ago)
Thank you for uploading this!

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