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Notes, tutorials, exercises, thoughts, workshops and resources about writing or storytelling art

Types of Narrators:The Omniscient Narrator

In this second post of the series, you’ll learn more about the all-knowing and all-seeing omniscient narrator who conveys the facts from a third-person point of view and doesn’t take part in the story.

As the name suggests, this god-like narrator knows everything about the characters and the plot. In addition, he or she is able to predict the future and make assumptions and judgments. The use of this omniscient point of view was very common in nineteenth-century novels.

Let’s take a careful look at the omniscient narrator’s features:

1. He/she knows every detail of the story.

The omniscient narrator knows everything – even what the characters are thinking and feeling. As such, the readers have more information about what’s going on in the story than the protagonists do themselves.

2. He/she explain instead of suggest.

The omniscient narrator interprets what is happening, makes judgments, and thoroughly analyzes the characters’ actions and behaviors. As a result, not much is left to the readers’ imagination.

3. He/she is reliable.

As the omniscient narrator has access to every detail of the story, his testimony is much more plausible than that of, say, a witness character. This element of reliability can be a good choice for novels set in a fantasy world.

4. He/she can represent the author’s voice.

The omniscient narrator tells the story from the outside. Therefore, he can sometimes be identified with the author, particularly if he makes value judgments or subjective remarks.

5. He/she can jump in time and space.

This type of narrator can move instantly from scene to scene and from setting to setting. He can go back and forth in time and omit unnecessary events.

6. He/she has control over the characters.

The omniscient narrator can control what every character thinks or feels, but this all-knowing capacity prevents the readers from looking at the facts through the hero’s eyes. That is better achieved when the protagonist himself (or herself) narrates the story. I’ll explain this in more detail later on.

Related Posts:

Point of View in Fiction Writing
How to Present your Characters
How to Introduce Conflict in a Story

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