Omniscient Discoveries 3: vs Multiple Point of View

Sound the bell! Round 1!

Note: POV = Point Of View

Multiple POV

vs

Omniscient POV

What are they?


My understanding

What is multiple POV?

Having 4-6 characters in third or first person for one book and alternating between them. Each chapter is one of the characters.

Typically you would not mix third person and first person narratives together although multiple POV can be in either. For first person, as long as the voices are distinct.

If you have Sally, Julie, and Bob. Sally will have her own chapter, then Julie, then Bob, back to Sally, so on and so forth.

Each character’s thoughts can be given a voice: I can’t do it, it’s impossible, Sally thought.

What is omniscient POV?

It’s like you are looking down into a doll house and seeing everything that is going on. You can listen into the thoughts of any of the characters (but you will only TELL the reader what the characters thought without giving them a thought voice):

Sally thought she couldn’t do it and that it was impossible.

Everything MUST be in third person.

Even though you see all the characters, you as the author, are allowed to pick and choose which bunch are the ones you want to focus on in your narrative.

Not all characters need to be talked about all the time. You can use the ones that are important at the moment. Good for foreshadowing events as well.


What people have said

What is multiple POV?

Having more than one character as your main character. It can be first person narrative for all characters, third person narrative for all characters, or it can alternate.

What is omniscient POV?

If you are writing in third person, you are writing in omniscient.

What is third person POV then?

Third person POV is writing in third person using one character. You only know the thoughts and feelings of your MC.

Persian cat room guardian
I don’t get it.

You can’t have third person meaning two different things. That’s just…you can’t do that.

POV and Narrative

This issue with omniscient and third person, I believe, is an issue with POV and narrative. People need to distinguish between POV and narrative.

Narrative is the parts where the author is talking such as describing a scene or character or giving backstory.

POV is the perspective you are taking. Whose point of view are you looking at this scene? Through whose eyes?

It makes sense here to say that omniscient is a type of point-of-view.


Sound the bell! Round 2!

Multiple POV

vs

Omniscient

Now, I think we are ready to more distinctly define the two.

What is multiple POV?

If you switch chapters between characters, that is just multiple point of view. If Sally has her own chapter followed by Bob who has his own chapter, that is just the author using multiple points of view. Head hopping is allowed in multiple POV because you are not switching between characters within a single chapter.

If you head hop and switch between characters within a single chapter, that would most likely confuse the reader.

What is the narrative for multiple POV?

The narrative for multiple POV is any description.


What is omniscient POV?

Omniscient point of view is looking at a scene and telling the reader how multiple characters see the scene at the same time. You are doing this all in one chapter.

BUT you never give the characters’ thoughts a voice. That would be head hopping and the start of confusion.

You would say,

Sally thought she couldn’t do it and that it was impossible.

You would NOT say,

I can’t do it, it’s impossible, Sally thought.

What is the narrative for omniscient POV?

That, I believe, is commentary, description, and no-voice head hopping.


Next in the series: Omniscient Discoveries 4: Dialogue

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