michelel72 (michelel72) wrote,

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POV questions and resource search

POV in writing can be a complex topic. I know I certainly have firm opinions on the subject. Some of those are from lack of exposure, though. For example: Based on my readings (modern, Western, English-language narrative), first and second person are sometimes used but third person is vastly more common, and limited third is particularly most common.

I know that, officially, omniscient third is an "acceptable" POV, but I don't have the experience to distinguish it from "wandering limited third" (I'll call that WL3)**, which I don't consider an acceptable POV. I was doing beta work last night for a story that is probably omniscient third, and I tried to find resources for ways to make the distinction between omniscient and WL3, but ... well. I swiftly encountered "workshops" with prescriptive examples that not only failed to work but included fundamental grammar/punctuation errors. (I'm not talking about the compromises inherent to writing dialogue and thought processes; I'm talking about simple, basic, blatant comma splices and the like.) The writing at those websites was just bad.

(** ETA: By wandering limited third, I mean third-person narrative that incorporates the thoughts, feelings, and internal reactions of more than one character within the same uninterrupted passage, paragraph, or even sentence without a clear scheme (and without telepathy). Use of different characters for third-person limited POV is one of my favorite tools, so long as the POV changes occur only at passage breaks. My problem is telling the difference between WL3, which isn't cool, and omniscient.)

So does anyone have any good resources for wrangling omniscient POV? If I'm doing beta on it, I really should know how it works to make sure I'm analyzing it effectively. I'm also interested in any thoughts anyone has on the topic of POV, whether this dilemma particularly or just in general.
Tags: writing

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