Tags:
  1. Karus

    Karus New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1

    Omniscient narration with First person?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Karus, Feb 13, 2017.

    I'm writing a fictional novel from the omniscient narration perspective mostly, but when there is only one character in part of the story I ve been writing in first person perspective to convey his thoughts and then switching back to the omniscient narration perspective to describe his actions and continue my narrative. Is this a typical standard or convention for writing fictional literature or do you think that this won t work and will confuse the reader?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
    jannert likes this.
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    12,515
    Likes Received:
    20,213
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    It's definitely doable but tricky. It might not be confusing but I could see it being annoying if you were switching up a lot. I can't think of another book that featured that, but I'm sure the rest of the crew can give you an avalanche of examples. The question I would have is why? Why not just go third-intimate if you don't feel like the "I guy" can carry the narration. That's pretty important in my opinion and the main reason I loathe writing in first person.
     
    jannert likes this.
  3. FrankieWuh

    FrankieWuh Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2014
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    110
    Location:
    Deepest Darkest UK
    Hi Karus - welcome to the forum

    I'm not sure how this would work either, without confusing the hell out of the reader (I had to read the post twice to get my head around what you were trying to do, so that ain't good). Mixed perspectives can be difficult even in the hands of the most experienced. In others it dooms the story from the off.

    What would be helpful is if you posted an example of what you were writing, and then the forum could see if it works. Who knows, if might be a work of genius, or might just need a little tweaking.
     
    jannert likes this.
  4. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,674
    Likes Received:
    19,891
    Location:
    Scotland

    Does this mean you are using first person voice, as in 'I did this, I think that, I want this?' Or do you mean you are just showing the reader one character's thoughts at a time?
     
    FrankieWuh likes this.
  5. iRoppa

    iRoppa Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2017
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    20
    Sounds like you'd be juggling a lot of balls on this one. Plus, I think tense shift/management would be a nightmare.
     
  6. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    530
    You only say you switch to first person to convey the character's thoughts. Are you doing something like this?

    Peter ran to the van. If I'm late for work this time, Mr. Jones'll fire me for sure! He opened the door and slid inside.
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,261
    Likes Received:
    13,082
    I too would like more details about exactly what you mean here. I'm also wondering why the omniscient aspect is needed and if you might be able to do shifting close third person instead. That is a much more usual form that is less likely to confuse readers.

    Edited to add: And whether good or bad, omniscient is fairly out of style. That doesn't mean you can't use it--present tense is fairly in style right now and I still won't ever ever use it. :) But it's a thing to consider.
     
    Homer Potvin likes this.
  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    12,515
    Likes Received:
    20,213
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Ditto that. I'm not a fan of present tense either. It just feels... weird.
     
  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    6,122
    Likes Received:
    7,497
    Here's the thing. Theoretically, you can do anything you want when it comes to writing, but if you plan to seek out trade publishing, doing things like this will most likely be a hard sell. The fact that you haven't read books that take a similar approach should tell you something. Even putting all that aside, I would never write something that switches between first to third. I think it would be confusing and hard to follow. Also, don't call it a "fictional novel." It's just a novel.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice