I’m covering this point of view for writing fiction not because I think it is better than any other, but because this is the one I used in my novel, Buddy for David. It’s the POV that I know by experience.
THIRD PERSON OMNISCIENT POINT OF VIEW is both fascinating and versatile –
Telling a story from the third person omniscient point of view means using an all-knowing narrator that may reveal anything about everything, including personal information about any character or all of them, as well as each one’s thoughts and feelings. Imagine the abundance of information available to the reader whenever you, the writer, wish to interject it.
Crafting your novel from this POV has the potential to keep readers well informed and engaged in your story. You can make your novel polished and provocative, if you are willing to take the time to write it and edit it into excellence.
THIRD PERSON OMNISCIENT POINT OF VIEW allows the writer to convey more information to the reader in a shorter span of time and space than other POVs. –
Here is how it works: Think of watching a suspense-filled movie. The main character is your guy. You want him to succeed. Your imagination about what’s going to happen next may provide you some excitement, but third person omniscient POV may present you inside information, by which you learn up front that your guy is walking into a trap! Your excitement is enhanced. You see no way out for your guy! You can’t wait to see how he handles the situation.
WARNING SIGN TO THIRD PERSON OMNISICIENT WRITERS –
BEWARE OF CONFUSING YOUR READER. While the third person omniscient POV gives the writer an effective privilege, the writer must learn to avoid traps that those using other POVs may not encounter. I found learning this skill tedious but worth the effort.
ONE WAY TO AVOID CONFUSING READERS IS TO FIND THE CAUSE FOR THE PAUSE – Let me explain…
SET ASIDE YOUR MANUSCRIPT for as long as is necessary to distance yourself from your extreme familiarity with it. After the predetermined time lapse, read the passages again, slowly and carefully, keeping your mind alert as you read along. If you find yourself pausing, find out what made you pause. A successful writer will find the causes for the pauses and fix them.
SOME CAUSES FOR THE PAUSES:
Be careful while switching from one character’s perspective to another’s, especially within the same scene or chapter. The reader may hesitate while sorting confusing thoughts, hindering the forward thrust of the story. It is better to say less than confuse the reader.
On the other hand, you may add spark to a conversation by interjecting third person omniscient information to one, two, or several characters’ dialog, as in this example:
“Why?” he answered back, determined to carry out his revenge in spite of any objection.
This works well if the writer accomplishes it without causing the reader to pause either from confusion or stumbling over awkward language. You will find pauses by reading the conversation after the numbness of familiarity wears off.
THIRD PERSON OMNISCIENT POV ALLOWS the reader to step into the shoes of each character via the VOICE of the narrator. Let me explain…
Third Person Omniscient POV is divided into two categories:
OBJECTIVE / SUBJECTIVE
This is the difference between the two:
The objective omniscient narrator acts strictly as an observer, offering no information about the thoughts or feelings of the characters, and may seem to be nearly voiceless.
The subjective third person omniscient narrator provides both thoughts and feelings of the characters and may be perceived as having a strong voice.
I wrote Buddy for David using the subjective third person omniscient. This means that the narrator in Buddy for David sometimes or often provides both thoughts and feelings of the characters.
CHALLENGES FOR WRITERS OF THIRD PERSON OMNISCIENT POV
Writing from third person omniscient POV requires a writer to create characters that readers will feel strongly about. Even if the story is plot-driven, readers want to identify with characters, especially the main character(s).
Provide story and plot that move readers to involvement with the story and attachment to the characters.
DOES THIRD PERSON OMNISCIENT POV WORK BETTER FOR PLOT-DRIVEN NOVELS –
My research reveals that some writers think third person omniscient POV creates a distance, a buffer, between the reader and the characters, and for this reason, this POV may work better for plot-driven novels.
If indeed the fondness or strong feeling of the reader for the character(s) is diluted by the omniscient narrator’s voice, it must not be lessened to the extent that the reader doesn’t care about what happens to the characters. Think of any plot-driven movie you have watched or book you have read. If you don’t care enough about the characters involved, you don’t care about the plot either. We humans are wrapped up in ourselves, our families, and our friends. A plot is only as interesting as the characters it influences or endangers. Characters are as important to a story as plot. Devalue either of them and the worth of the whole will be diminished.
If there is a disadvantage caused by a cushion between the readers and the characters caused by this POV, remember that there are definite advantages, also. The answer to the challenge is to create great characters and sound plot.
And, of course, if another POV is really better for your story, choose it.