Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Four Viewpoints (Part 14 of 17)

In the third-person omniscient POV, the author takes a panoramic view of the characters and events. The story doesn't unfold through the eyes of a single person, but we become part of an invisible, all-knowing, all-seeing narrator. This is also called the God view. It means you can know anything. This point of view works best in a story with a complicated plot and multiple characters.

In the omniscient POV, the author "drops in" on any of the characters. You can write from the hero’s perspective in one scene, from the heroine’s POV in the next, and then to the villain’s. You may vary viewpoints as often as you choose.

In the nineteenth century, those now called the classic authors often wrote from an omniscient viewpoint. They skipped from head to head of their characters within a scene. Often they stopped the action to comment on the people, and some would even pause to say, “And now, gentle reader” or “Pity him, dear reader, who thinks of such evil.”

Years ago I read this someplace (and forgot to keep the reference, for which I apologize):

Humpty Dumpty didn’t realize it, but soon he would have a great
fall, and the king’s horses and all the king’s men would not be
able to put him together again.


(Humpty didn’t realize what was happening, so we’re not in his POV. We’re godlike because we know what’s going to happen even though the poor fellow didn't.)

Omniscient POV is a long-established style of writing;
However, most writers stayed within a limited POV.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for clearly describing the points of view. The Humpty Dumpty example really shows it well. I am saving these posts for future reference.

    Heather

    ReplyDelete

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