the official website of
Bob Nailor

POV - Part 2

Welcome back. Now let's delve a little more into 1st person POV. I would like to explain AOE (Area of Expertise) a little more in detail. It is the knowledge factor and I like to think there are four categories within it.

They are: Omniscient, Objective, Subjective, Limited. A more detailed explanation follows:

The narrator sees and knows everything that is happening with each character and therefore can analyze the thoughts and emotions of said characters. Many consider this the "God" complex since the narrator has total control over the chronology of the tale by moving forward or backwards as needed to fill in details and reveal to the reader the outcome of such actions.

The narrator is an observer only; the proverbial 'fly on the wall' reporter. The narrator cannot enter the mind of the character or know what they are thinking.

This is a limited narrator who can only reveal what a single character knows and only see what they see.

Here the narrative story is dualized between Omniscient and Subjective. The narrator can only reveal the story from the one character's viewpoint. The narrator can 'head hop' to different characters but only reveal what that character knows.

So how does this apply to 1st Person POV?

Omniscient: Narration is God-like; all seeing, all knowing, all places.

The Good: As a writer you can be all characters, revealing all plans.

The Bad: There are NO secrets; even the bad guy tells all because if s/he doesn't reveal it outright, the mental notes are exposed to the reader.

Objective: In this POV, the writers is more like a reporter who is in the story but not part of the story. The author tells what is happening as if there.

The Good: The reader is more of a sleuth or detective rather than a character of the novel.

The Bad: More telling by the narrator than action by the character.

Subjective: 1st person POV is best written in this style as it allows "I" to control the content knowledge.

The Good: This permits the storyteller to be an active part of the story and also allows the reader to know the character better.

The Bad: The storyteller is limited to only being able to tell what the current character immediately knows and sees. The character can be literally painted into a corner for lack of knowing what is happening beyond their scope.

Limited: This is used mostly for SF, fantasy and the horror genres; otherwise it is shunned by the others.

The Good: Very tight POV where the reader is the character.

The Bad: All information must be fed to the character/reader and too often it becomes an "info dump" and bores the reader.

Each writer must decide what POV s/he will use when creating the next masterpiece. The hard part is making sure to stay in that POV for the entire book. Good luck.

  Click to add a comment - say something!

No comments entered.