A Thought About OPOV

I dunno…too harsh? Naw!

Anyone in the #writingcommunity who believes that Omniscient POV within scenes—sans any commentary from the invisible narrator—(also known as, gasp, ‘head-hopping’) is inherently *bad* or archaic, should read just about any chapter (including the opening) of the novel Her Fearful Symmetry from Audrey Niffenegger (2009).*

And then, respectfully, they should STFU about it.

Per Brandon Sanderson:

“The last, and this is the hardest to do, but it is brilliant when it works. This is the Dune style. True, power omniscient, which is where you come in and say, ‘I’m going to withhold no information from the reader. I am going to show everyone’s thoughts. I am going to head hop.’ So in a given paragraph, you are limited. That’s it. Next paragraph could be another character’s viewpoint and thoughts, and jumping from person to person to person in a given scene.” (emphasis added)

Best, _Mark

*-And yes, I’m aware that Ms. Niffenegger herself describes her POV as ‘Close Third-Person, with shifting characaters’. But, that is playing semantics, in my opinion. Anytime you are telling a story by going inside the head of multiple characters, that is an omniscient narrator, since only an omniscient narrator could do that.

Consider, GRRM’s Song of Fire and Ice, which has THIRTY-TWO different point-of-view characters through five novels. Do we still call that “limited third-person”? I call bullshit.

For the record, Sanderson draws the line at changing viewpoints within a scene as being the demarcation point. If you are doing that, you are in omniscient. If it is one viewpoint per scene, it’s third-person limited.

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