re: Refer to Parents by Name in Third Person POV?

in Point of View/Teen/Middle Grade Fiction by

Dear Editor…

I’ve decided to revise a manuscript, changing it from first person to third person. When I’m in a section from Luke’s p.o.v. do I only refer to his father (Richard) as “Luke’s father” or “his father?” Or can I refer to the father as Richard? Normally, a child doesn’t refer to their father by first name.

Thanks,
Margo

Dear Margo…

Stick with “Luke’s father” and “his father.” Anything else will distract readers. Even though you’ve moved the camera out of Luke’s head and onto his shoulder, Luke remains the point of view character so it will still feel like he’s referring to his own father by name, and in our culture, kids only do that when they or the parents are trying to make some kind of statement. Unless a statement is exactly what you want, don’t risk having your readers chew over a relationship issue that doesn’t exist.

Happy writing!
The Editor

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