1. Bogca

    Bogca New Member

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    Question about 3rd person omniscient

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Bogca, Jul 21, 2020.

    Hello everyone!

    I have never written anything in 3rd person omniscient, but since I want to write a fantasy story, I decided to use 3rd person omniscient. The thing is, I did so much research about this, it still got me nowhere, but confused me even more.

    What I don't understand is, how I should write the feelings/thoughts of each character in the same scene. I have the plot outlined and everything.

    There is a scene, where 4 characters are discussing something but all 4 are quite important in the story. So I don't know, how I should write this. Wouldn't it be head-hopping if I wrote all 4 characters' feelings/thoughts in that one scene? Or should I stick to one character in one scene? And in the next scene the other character?

    Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong because there might be something I misunderstood about the 3rd person omniscient.
     
  2. Aled James Taylor

    Aled James Taylor Contributor Contributor

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    Dwelling on the thoughts and feelings of four characters in a single conversation may make the account fairly long and possibly tedious.

    Why do you want to describe the thoughts and feelings of the characters? Are these needed to make their statements seem plausible to the reader? If the statements don't seem plausible to the other characters, you could have them ask questions to provoke explanations that wold reveal their thoughts and feelings. Or you could have the characters pre-emptively telling their thoughts and feelings to justify what they say. You could have each character ponder their situation later and give a fuller explanation then.
     
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  3. Lazaares

    Lazaares Active Member

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    Echoing the above comment - omniscient means a possibility, not a requirement to portray all emotions. If it's got little bearing on the story, omit it. If it can be shown instead of told, do so. These principles still apply.
     
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  4. Bogca

    Bogca New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Not necessary all 4 but at least 2.

    So, should I write it like that?

    1. paragraph: Celestia talks
    2. paragraph: her feelings/thoughts
    3. paragraph: King talks
    4. paragraph: his feelings/thoughts
    and so on.

    Would that be right? Imo, this wouldn't head-hopping.
     
  5. Lazaares

    Lazaares Active Member

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    What emotions / feelings / thoughts do you wish to portray? Perhaps they can be portrayed through dialogue and by describing how they talk.
     
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  6. Bogca

    Bogca New Member

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    I haven't written this yet but if there were feelings/thoughts that I can't portray through dialogue, would that be right what I just wrote above?

    That was only kind of an example.
     
  7. Lazaares

    Lazaares Active Member

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    A last resort, I'd say. I would first try to portray them through dialogue. Second, I would try and describe various characters' reactions, gestures, expressions and body language as they talk. I would only delve into thoughts / actual emotions as the third option.

    Bear in mind, however, that I'm a writer with background in roleplaying which means I heavily prefer dialogue over anything.
     
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  8. Bogca

    Bogca New Member

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    Okay, thank you for your help.
     
  9. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    If you have a scene where it's important to know the thoughts and feelings of all characters, it might require a special kind of setup. There was a movie made by Kurasawa based around an incident, a crime of some kind, and there was a trial. In cross examination, each witness explained their own version of what they saw, and they all came out completely different. I haven't seen the movie, only read about it, but it does seem like this kind of setup would solve your particular problem. I mean, it doesn't need to be a trial, but something similar—maybe some powerful incident that's the heart of your story and an investigator or something who questions each person involved. And it wouldn't have to be an official investigator, I just mean an interested party who is invested in finding out what happened. Maybe a friend to some of the people involved, maybe he or she was involved as well.

    That's the best way I can think of (so far anyway) to keep going back to the same incident and showing different peoples' reactions to it. Either that or just have them all intensely discussing it afterward and getting into arguments because of their different interpretations.
     
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  10. Gladiolus83

    Gladiolus83 Active Member

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    The movie you are talking about is Rashomon, and I agree that it can serve as an example. I have seen the movie and really liked it.
     
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  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    As an aside, there's nothing wrong with head-hopping, provided you do it effectively and produce a good end product. It's all in the execution. The reason you see admonitions against head-hopping is that many writers, especially new ones, do it in a clumsy manner, or stumble into it, breaking POV without intending to.

    As for your question--try it a few different ways. You can go into the heads of any or all of them in third-person omniscient, and if you have qualms about what approach to take and what will work versus what won't, write the scene out a few different ways. I believe Virginia Woolf once hopped multiple heads in the same sentence--it is not forbidden, but like anything else in your story it must be done well.
     
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  12. Bogca

    Bogca New Member

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    The best way would be if not everything was in the same paragraph but divided when I go into another character's head, right?

    That's what confuses me so much.
     

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