effective narration 101: narrative omniscience, part two

Before we jump into the second installment of our examination of narrative omniscience, here’s a link to part one and to the rest of the entries on effective narration, if you’d like a brief refresher:

  1. First-Person Narration
  2. Second-Person Narration
  3. Third-Person Narration, Part One
  4. Third-Person Narration, Part Two
  5. Narrative Characterization 
  6. Narrative Orientation in Time

So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about the implications of perspective (first person, second person, etc.) on narrative omniscience.

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effective narration 101: narrative omniscience, part one

Our series on effective narration has returned! If you’re interested in taking a look at the earlier entries, I’ve collected all of the posts on effective narration in one spot for easy reference. Here’s a list of the earlier posts, if you’d like to start at the beginning:

  1. First-Person Narration
  2. Second-Person Narration
  3. Third-Person Narration, Part One
  4. Third-Person Narration, Part Two
  5. Narrative Characterization 
  6. Narrative Orientation in Time

This week, we’re going to start taking a look at narrative omniscience. Like perspective, narrative omniscience is one of the more complicated aspects of narration, and I’m hoping to cover the content over the next couple of weeks. Today, I want to address the general considerations so we will have a shared vocabulary when we start talking about the way omniscience interacts with the other aspects of narration.

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effective narration 101: narrative orientation in time

If you’re new to the series on effective narration, I would recommend starting at the beginning:

  1. First-Person Narration
  2. Second-Person Narration
  3. Third-Person Narration, Part One
  4. Third-Person Narration, Part Two
  5. Narrative Characterization 

This week, we’re going to take a look at an author’s options when it comes to time and narration. Ultimately, here’s the question: when is the narrator telling the story?

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effective narration 101: narrative characterization

If you’re new to the series on effective narration, I would recommend starting at the beginning:

  1. First-Person Narration
  2. Second-Person Narration
  3. Third-Person Narration, Part One
  4. Third-Person Narration, Part Two

When fleshing out your narrator, there are really two choices when it comes to characterization. Either your narrator participates in the story or they don’t. This is one of those narrative considerations that is so closely tied to narrative perspective and narrative omniscience that it doesn’t get a lot of independent focus. Generally, first-person narrators are going to be a character in the story, and third-person narrators are not going to be participating. The thing that’s important here, then, is to consider the assumptions that come along with either choice.

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effective narration 101: third-person narration, part two

This week, we’re looking at the advantages and disadvantages of third-person narration. If you’re new to this series or want to review some narrative background information, I would recommend starting with first-person narration and working your way through second-person narration and third-person narration, part one.

Once again, there are five crucial aspects to consider when deciding how you are going to convey the events of your story:

  1. Perspective: From what perspective is the narrator telling the story?
  2. Characterization: Is your narrator participating in the story as a character or is your narrator telling the story from a distance?
  3. Time: Is the narrator telling us the story as it happens or after it happens? If it’s after the story happens, how much time has passed?
  4. Omniscience: What outside information does the narrator bring to the events that are unfolding?
  5. Reliability/Bias: Is the narrator to be believed?

For the final look at perspective, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of third-person narration.

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