Omniscient Point Of View is the God Like POV, the know it all or all knowing and my preference for writing. Why? Because I like to know everything. Beyond that, when I started writing, something other than adolescent hormonal almost smut, I started with fantasy and fantasy is most frequently written in Omniscient. Stories like JRR Tokiens The Hobbit.
But, as the argument goes every week at writer’s group, what is omniscient?
The third-person omniscient is a narrative mode in which the reader is presented the story by a narrator with an overarching, godlike perspective, seeing and knowing everything that happens within the world of the story, regardless of the presence of certain characters, including everything all of the characters are thinking and feeling. (as copied directly from Wikipedia).
What does that mean? It means that in each scene, I know, or can know, what each participant in the scene knows, or feels. Izzabella, as horrible as it is, needing some major edits, is an example of third person omniscient. We know what Allyn, Dumas, and Lace are thinking throughout the scene. If it were in third person limited, we’d be seeing the scene from only one person’s POV as if sitting on their shoulder.
Started as a short story writing assignment for a class, An Unexpected Turn starts in 3rd person limited in Part I with Iggy’s POV. In Part II it progresses to 3rd omniscient where I have Iggy and Hero’s POV. Subtle shift, but it’s there. And when I explored the idea of extending it to a full novel, I again played with POV, Part III, Henry’s View is 1st person.
A site I’ve found that offers a good overview of third person omniscient is Novel-writing-help.com As shown in the site, in omniscient the author has a choice of being a silent narrator, keeping their opinions to themselves or involved, imposing them on the story to the point of addressing the reader direct.
I prefer to be an unobtrusive silent narrator who knows the thoughts, feelings and attitudes of all the characters in the story, but doesn’t instill their opinions.
Third person omniscient is as much about the limitations you put on your writing as it is about POV. If I decide to write 3rd POV omniscient limiting myself to the good guys and then half-way through the story put thoughts and feelings of a bad guy into the a scene, the POV has now slid. Not because in omniscient I can’t be everyone, but because I’ve limited myself and crossed my own rules. It’s going to stand out.
For another look at the differences, view Learn to Write’s post on the subject.
What POV do you like or dislike, and why? Do you like to read one POV over another, but prefer to write in yet another POV? Does one genre lean toward a POV vs. another genre? Ie: most fantasy novels are in Omniscient.
Please leave comments for discussion.