There’s a common misconception when people begin writing that there is a right way and a wrong way to write an omniscient narrator. From concerns I’ve heard I suspect this comes from the idea that at omniscient narrator is an entity detached from the story, although they’re telling it they have no stake in it, … Continue reading The Narrator’s Voice
As with the ability to move our narrative focus anywhere there are benefits and risks to omniscient narration when it comes to explanation. The narrator knows and sees all so it can be tempting to thoroughly explain everything, even when we don’t need to. This can be useful in a first draft when we’re figuring … Continue reading The Balancing Act
One of the best things about omniscient narration is that we can show anything thing we want, but this can be the worst thing too. The problem is that the ability to jump between time, space and characters means it can be tempting to show everything which can be far too much. Some things need … Continue reading How Much is Too Much?
An omniscient narrator is an authorial voice outside the characters and the story that can move between the characters and places at will. This is slightly different from limited omniscient narrator which is outside the characters but we’re also limited to the perspective of one character at a time with a distinct break between each … Continue reading The Reliable Narrator?
The omniscient narrator gets its name because The Narrator knows and sees everything. (Other writing advice folk might disagree with saying The Narrator but let’s keep it simple.) The narrator in an omniscient narration is different from a limited omniscient narration. In the limited version the narrator can only see what is happening from the … Continue reading The Detached Narrator
This week we're looking at the omniscient narrator; the narrator who can go anywhere and everywhere at will. We'll be looking at the difference between omniscient and limited omniscient, narrative voice, and considering how much is too much. Monday - The Detached Narrator, What is omniscient narration? Tuesday - The Reliable Narrator, Is an omniscient narrator really reliable? Wednesday … Continue reading The All Seeing Narrator
When writing limited omniscient narration there are two main methods of separating the perspectives. One is to give each perspective their own chapter, such as in the Game of Thrones/Song of Fire and Ice books by George R. R Martin. Martin gives each character a chapter with their name as the heading, this isn’t mandatory … Continue reading Breaking Apart the Perspective
When we begin a story we don’t have to have to have all the perspectives plotted out, we don’t even have to know who all the perspective characters are, we can work this out as we go. However, when we’re editing we do have to work out which way all these perspectives need to go … Continue reading Plotting Perspective
As with subjective/first-person narrators when we write a limited third-person narrator it can help readers to identify different perspectives if we individualise the voice. We can do this the same way as we might with first-person narration, tailoring the words to match the character’s speech or carrying on the narrative as if it was their … Continue reading Can’t or Cannot?
The most obvious difference between first-person/subjective and limited-omniscient/limited-third narration is that the first is I and the third is he/she/they which creates immediate distance from the characters. We had another ‘character’ the narrator/authorial voice relaying the characters’ thoughts. As I’ve mentioned before this separate entity is used as a reason to refer to an omniscient … Continue reading First or Third?