Understanding Omniscient Third-Person Point of View: 9 Things You Should Know
Want to be able to tell your story the way you want, without being limited to a single character's perspective?
It can be tough to get into the head of a single character and understand their motivations and feelings. You may feel like you're missing out on important information, or that your story is incomplete.
An omniscient third-person point of view allows you to explore all aspects of your story and characters. This narrative perspective gives you the freedom to show readers what each POV character is thinking and feeling, as well as other omniscient devices like foreshadowing and hindsight. This article will explore how to use this perspective correctly in your writing.
1. An omniscient third-person point of view is a great choice for complex narratives with multiple plotlines.
If you're writing a complex narrative with multiple plotlines, an omniscient third-person point of view is a great choice. This perspective allows you to move freely between all the characters and reveal their thoughts and emotions, which can be helpful for keeping track of all the different storylines.
2. The difference between omniscient and limited omniscient
The difference between omniscient third-person point of view and limited omniscient is that the narrator has total access to all characters' thoughts and emotions, whereas limited omniscient only gives insight into a single character's mind.
This also means a third-person omniscient narrator knows everything, while a third-person limited omniscient point of view restricts what the narrator knows to what one character knows.
A third-person limited omniscient point of view can be a good way to write your story if you want it to be a very focused narrative. For instance, the Harry Potter series is a third-person limited omniscient POV that only follows Harry and his thoughts and feelings (with the exception of one or two chapters in the series that don't include him). In this way, we really get to know Harry and are focused on his revelations throughout the whole story instead of trying to track multiple storylines of different characters.
3. Omniscient narrators can reveal information about the future
The great thing about using a third-person omniscient POV is that the narrator can reveal information about the future, which can be a powerful tool for foreshadowing. This omniscient perspective gives you a birds-eye view of all characters and their relationships, making it an excellent choice for complex narratives with multiple plotlines.
However, it's important to use this omniscient perspective sparingly and only when you really need it – too much information can be overwhelming for the reader.
4. Omniscient narration can also be used to provide insights into characters' motivations and backstory
In addition to revealing information about the future, third-person omniscient narration can also be used to provide insights into POV characters' motivations and backstory. This is a great way to flesh out your characters and make them feel more real for your readers.
Again, it's important to use omniscient narration sparingly – too much backstory can slow down the plot and disrupt the flow of your story.
5. An omniscient point of view can be used to create suspense by withholding information from the reader.
One way a third-person omniscient narrator can be used to create suspense is by withholding information from the reader. This creates a sense of mystery and makes the reader want to keep reading in order to find out what happens next.
For example, if you know that a character is going to die but don't reveal this until later in the story, it will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they try to figure out how and why.
6. An omniscient narrator can move in and out of scenes as they please, giving the reader a clear sense of time and place.
When using an omniscient third-person point of view, it's important to remember that you are not limited to one character's perspective.
You have the freedom to move between all members of your cast, giving readers a clear understanding of their thoughts and feelings. This makes omniscient narration an excellent choice for stories with large casts of complex plotlines.
7. A limited omniscient narrator should never divulge information that a character in the scene would not know.
One thing to remember when using a limited omniscient point of view is that the narrator should never divulge information that the POV character in the scene would not know.
For example, if your protagonist is talking to another character in a room, the narrator should only reveal what that character can see and hear within the room.
If you want to reveal information that is outside of the character's knowledge, you should use omniscient narration instead. This will ensure that readers are always aware of which perspective you are writing from.
8. The narrator must be invisible
In order for an omniscient narrator to be effective, they must be invisible. This means that they should never intrude on the story or speak directly to the reader. Their presence should be felt only through their omniscience.
If you find that your narrator is intruding on the story or speaking directly to the reader, you may need to revise your point of view. An omniscient narrator should never be felt or seen by the characters in the story.
9. Stay consistent
When writing in an omniscient third-person point of view, it's important to be consistent with your POV.
Make sure you stick to either head-hopping or staying within one character's perspective per scene. This will help keep your readers oriented and avoid confusion.
Although a third-person omniscient narrator has a lot of freedom, they do have some limitations.
They cannot reveal information that is not known to the characters within the story. They should also never intrude on the story or speak directly to the reader. These limitations help keep readers oriented and prevent them from becoming confused.
A third-person omniscient point of view can be a powerful tool for storytelling, but it's important to use it correctly. By following these tips, you can ensure that your readers will understand and appreciate your story's narrative voice.