I admit that I haven't had much experience writing in 3rd person – at least not in longer fiction. I'm remedying that as we speak. One thing I've learned by reading raw material was what to do and what not to when writing in 3rd person.
The Kangaroo Effect
POV (point of view) issues can KILL even the best story. I remember one novel I edited last year carried one of the most engaging stories I'd ever come across. But the author didn't understand basic POV rules when writing in 3rd person and it pretty much guaranteed the book got a toe-tag.
She didn't confine each scene to one person's POV. Instead, she was hopping around like a separate “see all” entity. She was in the cop's head one paragraph, telling what he was thinking and feeling, then the next paragraph in a witness's head, then the next another cop's head and so on until she'd covered everyone's POV in the scene. It's what I like to call the “Kangaroo Effect”, when you hop around from one point of view to the next without breaking the scene. It can be very confusing and chaotic for a reader.
Think 1st Person when writing 3rd Person
One trick that I've learned to help me tackle 3rd person POV problems is to think of it like writing 1st person.
Writing in first person POV is simple, right? You only have one person's thoughts and feelings to explore. Try that technique while writing 3rd person. Confine yourself to showing only one character's thoughts, feelings, reactions, etc. while writing your scene. If you absolutely have to show another character's POV in the same scene, close off the current section of the scene and start with a new section.
Hopefully that will help you understand 3rd POV issues a little better. If there are any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. I don't know everything but I try to help where I can. :)
Have a great day!
Peace, love, and happy writing,