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May's Theme: Point of Veiw</u>

This month we will be briefly discussing Point of View (hereafter known as POV). These are essential to all fiction prose because every author no matter what genre will use it. As always, we will skim the topic, and I hope you will research more afterward.

Week 1: 1st and 2nd Person POV
Week 2: 3rd Person Omniscient POV
Week 3: Limited Omniscient POV
Week 4: Featured Author

Tip of the Week: 3rd Person POV </i>

A bit about 3rd Person POV

The 3rd Person POV is the most common POV used in literature and is especially popular in novel writing. Think of it like a camera that can show everything that's going on in a story. There are actually four subsections of the 3rd person--Third Person Omniscient, Limited Omniscient,  Universal Omniscient (some people couple this with the Third Person Omniscient), and Third Person Objective--but we will only be discussing the first two--one today, the other next week.

As a matter of interest, the Universal Omniscient is when the narrator reveals information that [none of the characters has] ie. "Little did he know he'd be dead by morning."

The Third Person Objective does not include any of the characters thoughts or feelings and reads much like a newspaper article (both definitions via Wikipedia article).

Third Person Omniscient

The 3rd Person Omniscient POV is historically the most popular POV. You can see it if you read a classical novel. In this POV, the narrator has "all-seeing power" (which is what omniscient means) and can see everything that is going on. Not only that, but they know what is going on in each character's head. In the 3rd Person Omniscient the narrator is free to go into whoever head he pleases and tells whatever he feels that he wants to.

An example of this kind of writing can be found in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

     He wished them good night, and they said no more; but Frodo could see in the lantern-light that the man was still eyeing them curiously. He was glad to hear the gate clang behind them, and they rode forward. He wondered why the man was so suspicious, and whether any one had been asking for news of a party of hobbits. Could it have been Gandalf? He might have arrived, while they were delayed in the Forest and the Downs. But there was something in the look and the voice of the gatekeeper that made him uneasy.

    The man stared after the hobbits for a moment, and then he went back to his house. As soon as his back was turned, a dark figure climbed quickly in over the gate and melted into the shadows of the village street (pg. 148)

Notice how Tolkien (the narrator, rather) gives Frodo's perspective and then he tells the reader something that Frodo does not see or know about. This is the essense of 3rd Person Omniscient. If you were to read the book, you will also see that he chooses the perspective of whichever character he pleases, sometimes Frodo, sometimes Sam, sometimes Pippin, etc.

The main plus to this POV is that you can tell your reader all sorts of things. The main drawback is that this POV distances the readers from the characters and can elliminate an air of mystery if not done correctly.

definitions are from the Wikipedia article here:…

Quote is from The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin. pg. 148


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