Friday, January 20, 2012

Why I hate third person omniscient POV

Because it puts me into a position of an observer, rather than connecting with the character. One reason I can't stand the best-selling novel One Day is that it's written in this POV. Personally I think it would have worked much better with two limited third person POVs, rather than hopping heads.

Many new writers accidentally slip into this POV, where they report from one character's perspective and suddenly jump into the other character's thoughts. While I just felt for the first character, I'm ripped out of the perspective and thrown into the other one; basically, I'm told to stand back and watch. Something, I personally don't like as a reader.

The other thing is that it takes away a lot of suspense and secrecy. I also often feel that the characters end up a little flatter than those who have to work hard to find their answers.

To name an example:

Judy tells John that she is in love with him. John loves her too and is delighted, but doesn't say anything or denies his feelings for her because he is in a relationship. Key is: the reader knows John feels the same and can get frustrated because he doesn't act on them.

Third person limited would be Judy being in love and wondering if John feels the same, or vice versa. Judy would have to read his expressions, weigh his answer.The reader keeps wondering and you have a great page turner, because you want them to be together in the end.

Those who read my books know that I'm a big fan of second person POV (you), though my Branded series is in first person POV (I). Although I love a challenge, I don't think I'll ever attempt third person omniscient. Limited, yes, but not the former. I think it's extremely difficult to do it well.

What's your favourite POV; whether it is as a reader or as a writer?

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