Omniscient Voice

Hi folks,
Well, another week has gone by at warp speed. It was a week of strange and interesting things popping up on the internet. One that truly caught my eye was a debate on the use of omniscient voice for writers. (Omniscient voice is the all-knowing voice of the storyteller or narrator.) A large number of writer and agents are of the opinion that omniscient voice is dead, that on one writes with this style anymore, and if they do no intelligent reader will read it.

I do!

To all of you who buy my books and prove them wrong, Thank You. You see, I always write in the omniscient voice. I have no pretensions of great academic credentials or of high literary accomplishments. I am a storyteller. Storytelling for the entertainment of people is a time honored tradition, and one that I pursue.

As a small child I would crawl under the kitchen table and listen to my father and his friends swap lies, as they called it. I got to know the stories they told and to recognize how and when they embellished them. I instinctively understood the entertainment value and the spiritual bonding between the storyteller and his audience. 

That is what I do, I try to entertain you with my stories and thereby share a special human experience with you the reader. I know I could tell the story in the first person or third person, but there is always more than one person in a story. When you tell a story through the eyes of a single character you lose a lot of the other characters’ value. We are all humans and we all have a story to tell. By that logic, there is always more than one character in every story and all are equally important.

Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. J
ROW80 Check-in

It was a very busy week. Yes, that’s an excuse for not reaching my goal. I have a long list, but I won’t bore you with it. (Would that count toward the word total?) No?) Darn!)
Okay, the goal was to reach 15K for the week, but I barely managed 10K. “This week will be different,” she says as she straightens her back, cracks her knuckles, and bends over the keyboard.
It’s not easy, though when the weather is like this outside and there are dogs to play with. J

Well folks, that’s it for me this week. Drop me a line and let me know how you’re getting on. 

Oh, and for all you writers out there, what do you think of omniscient voice? I’d love to hear your feedback.


12 thoughts on “Omniscient Voice

  1. I write in 1st person (so far) because it comes natural to me. To write any other way would take practice and at first at least, feel forced. You must write however comes natural Prudence. 'Fashions' are cyclic, like life. Soon enough you'll find they've changed in omniscient favour, no doubt. 🙂

  2. I go with whatever viewpoint I think works for the story. I'd even do second person if the story required it (haven't done it yet) I've written in omni and find it enjoyable to do. I'm mystified as to why people keep saying omni is dead. It makes me wonder not about the viewpoint itself, but how well-read those people are or if they read outside their genres. I can go to a bookstore and find books in omni fairly easily. They're common in thriller and science fiction, where the types of the stories can require it.

    I think writers get focused on "rules" too much, because it's easy to learn how to do something by following the rules. Except that a lot of misinformation gets passed along as fact, and omni doesn't fit the definitions. The single all seeing narrator is hard concept to understand, and everyone goes back to their knowledge of regular third to define it. Suddenly omni head hops or has multiple viewpoints, and it's breaking the rules! You can't do that! Bad, bad! Since it doesn't follow the rules the writers expect, they don't like it. It may even frighten them. Maybe that's why they keep wanting it to be dead.

    When I first starting writing in omni, there wasn't nothing out there. But, perhaps as a rebellion against all the extreme intimacy we're seeing right now, I've been finding a lot more on omni. And not just people saying, "There are three viewpoints. Here they are." Some are very good discussions that bring out the best about the viewpoint.

  3. Hi Linda. I do agree that we can get too focused on the rules sometimes. it was in hopes of getting this discussion going that I made this post. Folks need to see that the rules are more often just current fashion. Thanks for the well thought out and expressed comment.

  4. I don't usually care for omniscient voice as a reader – it tends to limit bonding with the characters, and is often very tell-not-show. That said, the books of yours that I've read didn't strike me as being in omni – I would have considered them third person multiple POV. Yes, they often switched POV within a scene, but I was always able to tell whose POV I was in so it wasn't noticeable (a good thing) and I felt connected to the characters. Interesting topic!

  5. I always find these discussions interesting. I agree, Pru. One has to write the way that works for his or her stories. I do multiple POV–third person but inside one character's head in any given scene. I get accused of head-hopping by other authors who have learned 'the rules' but readers often comment that they like knowing what's going on from the different characters' perspectives. And I swear I was a Navajo storyteller in a previous life. 🙂

  6. He, he, he, yes Prudence, I did see that post this week. You know, as a new writer, I tend to write Omni or so I've been told. Although, I would like to bring more intimacy to my story by writing close third person just because I think the story lends itself to it. And that I think is the point. That and what you, the writer is comfortable with. Wouldn't it show otherwise? But then again, what do I know? lol. 🙂

  7. Aw, thanks Jennette. (blushing shyly) hehehe That's the real trick to the storyteller's magic. The listener (reader) doesn't really notice when you slip back and forth, but you're still sharing the whole story as experienced by many.
    Oh, I really enjoyed your books too, but the pace is so fast I need a vacation on the beach after each one. Whew, it still amazes me how you do that. 🙂

  8. Apparently you know a great deal, Karen. You are exactly right. It isn't hard to tell when a writer is trying to write by the rules rather than by the story that drives her and what instinctively feels right.

    Thanks for weighing in. 🙂 Hope all s well in your world.

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