I’m writing a story about some characters competing in a contest and I’m having some trouble with perspective rules. Basically I’m going for a style in which 90% of the time I don’t say anything about what my characters are thinking and feeling, and only their words/actions are revealed, but where during the other 10% of the time – in the really tense moments – I say stuff like “John felt panic gripping at his chest.”
The idea is to have a fairly detached, neutral tone throughout and to only explore my character’s internal experiences directly during their individual “spotlight moments” during the contest that serves as my setting. Maybe this sounds weird but I have a good reason for doing it, it’s just harder to accomplish than I thought it would be.
There are definitely some writers who can pull this off – they keep things very third person limited for the most part, and it’s only every once in a while that they speak from inside their character’s minds, and it just works. But when I try to do it and read my work back, it just feels sloppy, like I’m reading something by someone who doesn’t understand perspective rules. So I’m wondering if there’s a rule of thumb or a tip I could use to help me maintain a strongly negative perspective ratio like I’m describing without coming across as inorganic in my writing.
Source: reddit post