Third person: All writers know what it is, but it is another one of those lessons I had to learn. Oh I knew it meant that the story was told from a distance. A distance shown by using 'he', 'she', 'they', and sundry other pronouns along with proper names in order to keep the pronouns from getting confusing.
There are different levels of third person though. Third person objective would be me telling you the story from an unbiased viewpoint. Hopefully treating each major character with equal dispassion and yet still managing to keep you entertained. This 'fly-on-the-wall' technique is still common in news articles, though it has lost its popularity in fiction.
Third person omniscient is the story told from the point of view of the ultimate watcher - someone who is right there, wherever there needs to be. Someone who sees all and understands all, through whom we can therefore understand all as well. The risk with this version is to take the reader too far away from the characters, a distance which may keep the reader from an intimate understanding of the character, preventing 'love' if you will, an impersonal memory - "Oh yeah, I've heard that before. So what."
Another name for third person omniscient is third person subjective, which is getting into the heads and under the skin of any character, but generally the major ones. This grasshopper point of view can hop from person to person as needed - it can also become confusing if extreme care is not taken to clue the reader in to the hop.
All of these forms have their successful outlets; books both classical and current that have hit the big time. I, however, am interested in what might be the hardest form of third person.
Like The Fortunes of Magic, which is written in first person, third person limited sticks to one character and yet still rides on his shoulder. He can't read someone else's mind, nor can he see around corners. Solutions to his problems must come from within his own mind or from whatever information he can cause to be gathered. In other words, if someone walks up behind him without making a sound, we aren't going to know about it until he rests a hand on our character's shoulder - no fair peeking. Or if a friend is plotting his death, we won't know that either unless another friend decides to give him up, or until the deed happens.
So, can I put a camera on my character's shoulder? Can I weed out all the extra, not-known-yet information? Along with getting into his head and making use of thoughts and emotions, this is the task I've set for myself this time around.
And so the editing continues. I'm sure glad I like my books. I'm sure rereading them enough. I can't wait until I can share them with all of you.