1. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    First Person Omniscient?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Garball, May 15, 2014.

    I am trying to write a story where the narrator makes an appearance as one of the characters in the story. However, I would also like to be able to depict the thoughts and actions of other characters and maintain the same voice as narrator/character.
    Would 1st person omniscient be an acceptable tool, or would it be confusing how the narrator/character could know the thoughts of others. I think it would be more confusing to try and combine 1st and 3rd with different voices.
     
  2. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Can you write an example of what you mean? If you are talking about switching voices back and forth at any given time, that can really confuse the reader.
     
  3. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    Maybe if the character is an omnipotent being.
     
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  4. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    First Person Omniscient is confusing and makes no sense if you just randomly jump from character to character. What I do is let a new character have the perspective in each chapter (out of a total of seven total characters that we flip through). But you've got to make sure people know that it's happening or else it's really confusing.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I thick that nothing is impossible in writing. But that belief is very much strained when I try to call this not-impossible. I would recommend finding a different strategy.
     
  6. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I mean you CAN do it but it won't make much sense, hasn't been done successfully before, and will be confusing.

    You can't just randomly jump but you can do it at chapter breaks like I am.
     
  7. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Example:

    Lewdog walked up and down the candy aisle looking for his heist. Occasionally, he would look this way to see if he was being watched. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but in his mind there was no choice. I guess you could say Wreybies was to blame, taking advantage of Lewdog's simple mind. Wrey had told him that if he ate an entire bag of Smarties it would make him smart. Having squandered all of his money on Garbage Pail Kids, Lewd was forced to steal if he wanted his brain embiggened.
    He thought his crime was concealed tucked into his belt, but I knew better and would catch him at the door.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
  8. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah I can't tell where the switch is, that's the only issue.
     
  9. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    There is no switch, just the narrator is a character in the story, but can also tell the reader what the others are thinking.
     
  10. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's REALLY weird. Why not just Third Person Omniscient?
     
  11. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe if your protag is a psychic or something?
     
  12. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Then put the other peoples' thoughts into italics.
     
  13. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    To me this is just third person omniscient. If you replaced Garball with "I" then it would be first person omniscient.

    For example:

    Lewdog walked up and down the candy aisle looking for his heist. Occasionally, he would look this way to see if he was being watched. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but in his mind there was no choice. I guess you could say I was to blame, taking advantage of his simple mind. I had told him that if he ate an entire bag of Smarties it would make him smart. Having squandered all of his money on Garbage Pail Kids, Lewd was forced to steal if he wanted his brain embiggened.
    He thought his crime was concealed tucked into his belt, but I knew better and would catch him at the door.

    It works here, but I would have to see a whole story this way to see if it could continue.
     
  14. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe there's the confusion. I should not have used my name in the story. The narrator is the "I" in the last line. Let me edit the example and reread it without my name in it.
     
  15. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I feel like this would be synonymous with you telling a made up story to a bunch of kids during story time and putting yourself in the story. The words you speak are the narration and the kids are the readers. I don't know does that make sense?

    The omniscience is accepted because the reader already knows the narrator is master of the story, instead of the narrator recalling events of the story.
     
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  16. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, very much like that. A recollected fiction
     
  17. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    It's actually not hard to see that working. As long as the reader is aware of it in the beginning.
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    Who is "I" in that sentence? Everything else is third person.

    I think it would depend on how the narrator knows all this stuff. If he's just perceptive, but we are really seeing just his opinion, then it works. If he knew things that had happened in the past like what Wrey told Lew, then it works. It just sounds like the narrator has a lot of inside knowledge at this point.

    If later you start describing what happens to the characters when the narrator is not present, it only works if the narrator is not one of the characters interacting in the scenes.

    However, it sounds like you can pull it off if it is past tense and the narrator is telling us what happened after the fact. The reader would just think the narrator found all this out and was relating a story they knew the details of.
     
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  19. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Hey Garball,

    I think you know the answer already. It is your story, so what you say goes. But if there is something in the back of your head which doubts it can work, then go with that instinct. If you think it can work, just go for it, you'll find out down the line, and even if you screwed up, I bet the lessons you learnt along the way will make you a better writer.
     
  20. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no idea why would something like this be "impossible". I recommend Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus" as an example of succesful - and brilliant - blend of "1st person" and "3rd person" narration. Yes, the narrator is homodiegetic (a very present character of the story-world) and has intimate knowledge of "main character's" inner life. Often, this knowledge is "explained" by narrator's close friendship, letters etc from the main character - but in many cases there isn't enough "rationalization" to justify it. The text doesn't really need it.

    If you insist on sticking dogmatically to three "common" narrative modes, then the number of possibilities is reduced to those three modes. Everything else is "weird", "confusing" and "impossible"...
     

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