Show, not Tell

There are 3 rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

Lesson 15

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Perception

The world is completely different if you look at it in a different way.

 

Point of view. It’s one of the most important things to your story. I am, however much I love writing, not an English major. I was recently informed that PoV is much more detailed than 3rd omniscient, 3rd limited, 2nd and 1st. I’m going to focus on third person.

Omniscient

Third person omniscient helps writers create huge, epic stories with complicated stories involving many characters. It can hinder the ability to connect with the characters. The best example of this is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Omniscient means the reader knows everything and everyone’s thoughts at all times. There is no limitation. My example below:

Sally stepped into the gym with Emily at her arm. Sally had a baby pink gown with sparkles all over it and her blonde hair tied up in a bun. She thought she looked beautiful. Emily thought she was pretty too, as did her crush John. Emily was wearing white and had her brown hair in curls. She felt self conscious with cleavage, but she was told it looked cute. There was a gaggle football players in the back hanging out with their girlfriends, more than a few wondering if they were going to get some. The prom queen and princesses were glittering under the stage lights, thinking of how hot it was. The seats were taken up by the misfits and a few loner girls and nerdy boys. No one would be dancing with them. John was across the way and watched both of them enter. He was in his brother’s tux and all the girls were looking at him. Especially Sally.

Limited Omniscient

Limited omniscient is almost the same as omniscient point of view. You still know almost everything, but the reader can only get into the head of one character. Good example of this is Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Though Snicket gets into three of the main character’s heads, the reader only knows what they are thinking. All other characters are only viewed externally. My example below:

Sally stepped into the gym with Emily at her arm. She had a baby pink gown with sparkles all over it and her blonde hair tied up in a bun. She thought she looked beautiful. Emily was wearing white and had her brown hair in curls. Sally wondered if she felt self conscious with all of that cleavage, but didn’t pay it any mind. John was across the way and watched both of them enter. He was in his brother’s tux and all the girls were looking at him. Especially Sally.

Single Character Subjective

Single character subjective point of view shows the main character’s thoughts, emotions and opinions. Subjective and limited are similar with the sole exception that the reader sees the main character only from the inside instead of the inside and the outside. The reader learns as the main character does. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is a good example of this. My example below:

Sally stepped into the gym with Emily at her arm. She thought her gown and hair were great. Her friend, Emily, looked a like a harlot with so much cleavage, but Sally didn’t pay it any mind. John, her crush, was across the way. He was in a tux. Sally caught eyes with him when he looked up. He smiled and she could’ve swooned.

Single Character Objective

Single character objective point of view only cares about the facts. With this perspective you only see actions. Objective has a “fly on the wall” feel at times. Novels using this make the character’s feelings obvious through the actions they make. A good example of this is Aesop’s Fables.   My example below:

Sally strutted into the gym with Emily at her arm. She had a baby pink gown with sparkles all over it and her blonde hair tied up in a bun. She brushed the loose hairs at the back of her neck away and smoothed out wrinkles in her dress. Her friend, Emily, was wearing white and had her brown hair in curls. Sally gave her friend’s open chest a disapproving glance before looking across the floor. John was across the way in a tux. He looked up and caught eyes with Sally and smiled. Her heart fluttered.

Detached

Detached doesn’t go into detail about motivations, thoughts or emotions of the characters. The narrator is–as I’m sure you could guess!–detached from the happenings of the story.  The best example I can think of this is The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. Just actions and dialogue. My example below:

Sally stepped into the gym with Emily. She brushed the back of her neck and smoothed out her dress. Sally looked at her friend’s dress. There was a great view of her ample chest. She looked away into the gym. John was across the way. He looked up and caught eyes with Sally and smiled. “God, he’s dreamy,” she said.

Of course, most of these are a review, but it was a good lesson for me! (In more than one way.) Hope it was for you, too!

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Written by Devin Bond

October 13, 2010 at 5:30 am

Posted in Lessons, Point of View

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