March 21st, 2012

ISeeYou2

Writing Excuses 7.12: Writing the Omniscient Viewpoint

Writing Excuses 7.12: Writing the Omniscient Viewpoint

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2012/03/18/writing-excuses-7-12-writing-the-omniscient-viewpoint/

Key Points: Omniscient viewpoint, with a narrator who can see all the action and knows all the thoughts of the characters, is hard to get right, compared to limited and first-person. Readers don't expect it. Cinematic omniscient, or third person cinematic, uses a camera as a narrator. Another type is the storyteller, with someone telling you this story. This lets the narrator talk to the reader, while not necessarily letting the characters know. It's a good way to condense information. Another type is the occasional zoom-out, such as establishing shots. There is a distinction between narrators with a strong voice and neutral omniscient narrators. When writing omniscient, be careful of the temptation to indulge in world builders' infodumping. The main advantage of occasional zoom-outs is that you don't always have to have a character see everything. The final type of omniscient is pure omniscient, which may lead to head hopping if done wrong. It must be very clear who is thinking what, but this can be very strong. This kind of omniscient lets you dig deeply into several characters and cover a lot of information in a single scene.
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[Brandon] Yeah. Give them writing prompts.
[Howard] Okay. I'm actually going to give two. Writing prompt number one. Stick a scene in between two third person limited scenes, where an omniscient narrator delivers information that isn't available to any of your POV characters. The second writing prompt is pull off this Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility thing. Have two characters carrying on a dialogue in which what is being communicated with the words is out of sync with what each of the characters is thinking.
[Brandon] Okay. Excellent. You are out of excuses. Thanks for listening. Now go write.