Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Omniscient Point of View

OMNISCIENT is the point of view in a work of fiction in which the narrator is capable of knowing, seeing, and telling all. It is characterized by freedom in shifting from the exterior world to the inner selves of a number of characters, a freedom in movement in both time and place, and a freedom of the narrator to comment on the meaning of actions.

Sometimes called the "God-like" point of view, a writer must be extremely skilled to tackle this successfully. For novice writers, the first or third - person points of view are best. If you try writing a novel in OMNISCIENT POV you will most likely be called on it by your beta readers, with POV CHANGE!! red-penciled into the margins.


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

23 comments:

  1. Oh, but I'm falling behind keeping up with A-Z blogs. Actually, they're all interesting; I've learned much. Read your previous two posts, but thought I'd comment here and thank you for interesting info. "Angela's Ashes" had me laughing so hard the tears fell.

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  2. Many writers (myself included) sometimes slip into ominiscient without realising they've done it.
    My 'P' post tomorrow will be on 'point of View' and I'll be quoting some advice by a romance editor (with her permission).
    http://paulamartinpotpourri.blogspot.com

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  3. I enjoy the freedom of an omniscient POV, but it can be hard making it worthwhile to sacrifice the intimacy of a more limited POV that's tied to specific characters.

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  4. I would never attempt an Omniscient POV!!!! Too scary for me! Take care
    x

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  5. Great O word, Karen! :) Hope you had a great weekend.

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  6. Omniscient is hard for me to write. I can never make it work so it doesn't sound like head hopping!

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  7. Someday when I'm talented, I'm going to try a novel in this POV!

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  8. The first version of Breakthrough was in Omniscient POV. The revised version is in Third Person. It reads better this was as the Omniscient POV had too much head hopping.

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  9. Funnily enough I'm just reading such a book - thanks for clarifying what it is about it that is enabling me to see things through the eyes of more than one of the characters. It's evidently v skillfully done in this particular book, but I'd never attempt it myself :-)

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  10. My book has an omniscient POV. Wish I did. Wouldn't life be easier if you KNEW what that person speaking to you REALLY thinks...???

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  11. I don't write omniscient, and it's really hard for me to read. It feels like I'm more disconnected from the characters, and most of the time, I need to feel that connection. Kudos to those writers who can pull it off successfully, though!

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  12. Omniscient POV sounds like a person lurking behind the bushes spying on people, don't you think?

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  13. Omniscient POV is hard but some writers can pull it off.

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  14. I love reading & writing in 1st person POV, because it's so direct and personal.

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  15. Omniscient POV is rather scary. Being all knowing,very unsettling. I really prefer not to know everything.

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  16. POV is such an amazing tool. I think the more I understand it the better my books become. Thanks for the info.

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  17. Great post! I wouldn't even know how to write from this point of view . . . and make it work. LOL

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  18. I am truly learning so much from you...thank you!...:)JP

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  19. I have read one book in Omniscient POV that was great. I was never confused about the head hopping. I agree though, you have to do it correctly.

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  20. I have just read the first chapter of a book on a critique group. Not only was the story in omniscient, headhopping at least 7 times in 3000 words, but also in present tense. I had such a hard time reading it. I have yet to find a story where the omniscient works for me.

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  21. I doubt I'll ever be up to the challenge of Omniscient POV, but I do find it intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Happy Tuesday! :o)

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  22. I would be too scared to try omniscient pov. To be honest, I haven't read a lot of books with this POV lately. I wonder if it's not the hottest trend right now.

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