When a work colleague asked me if I had blogged about the difference between third person closed and third person unlimited (omniscient), I wasn’t really sure what he was talking about. My first reaction was to look up the word omniscient itself which I now know means “all knowing”. This inspired me to write Note 251 The prefix omni and related words a couple of days ago.
Since then a few other writers have left some very useful comments on this post which helped me put the phrase ‘omniscient point of view (POV)’ into context. I’ve also googled it and About.com Grammar & Composition says that there are three main types of third-person points of view which are omniscient, closed and objective as described below; however Wikipedia also mentions subjective so I’ve added that as well:
- Third person omniscient (or unlimited) – About.com explains that “an all-knowing narrator not only reports the facts but may also interpret events and relate the thoughts and feelings of any character”.
- Third person closed (or limited) – A member on the Absolutewrite.com forum says that for third person limited “the story is told from the point of view of ONE character. It has nothing to do with the number of characters. There can be thirty characters – but we only know the direct thoughts of one of them”. About.com Grammar & Composition also says that the narrator is giving a report of events “from the perspective of a single character”.
- Third person objective – The narrator in a third-person objective piece is completely neutral and relays no feelings of his/her own.
- Third person subjective – According to Wikipedia “a narrator staying on the subjective end of this spectrum tells the story exclusively from the perspective(s) of the character(s) and cannot relate any of the exterior objective world”.
That’s all for today. Hope you enjoyed today’s post.