Main Point Of View Discussion

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07:08:16 AM Jan 17th 2011
One Part of this article is primitive, and is lagging severely behind even decades-old developments in the field of written science fiction and fantasy. Take a look at Cherryh's first Chanur series novel, "Pride of Chanur".

Describing the point of view used in it as "third person limited" doesn't do it justice. Many novels are written in third person limited. The point of view that Cherryh uses is a particular subset of 3rd person limited, one that is very difficult to write, but extremely powerful for a writer who can use it (and a bit demanding of the reader, as in reading protocols).

Card touches upon the subject in one of the chapters of his "Characters and Viewpoint". It has also been mentioned several times in the Usenet group rec.arts.sf.composition, as "third person intimate", in a no-need-to-explain-because-everyone-understands-what-it-means (which is true in a group for serious writers).

Given that this wiki claims to be a ressource for writers, it is rather sad that its article about point of view, which is arguably the most powerful and important tool of all those available to a writer of fantasy or science fiction, is so lacking. It's what I'd expect to get if I asked a high school English (or Danish) teacher to tell me about point of view.

The problem is, defining "third person intimate" is difficult. I know it when I see it. If you read "Pride of Chanur", or probably anything else by Cherryh, you will know it too. Or if you read something from the last 20-30 years, written by another skilled writer of fantasy or science fiction. Easy to recognize, but hard to explain.

What's the ambition level, and seriousness level, of this wiki? Is this wiki content with having an article on point of view that looks like it was copy-n-pasted from a literate textbook (as in Literary Fiction)? Or from Wiki "citation needed" Pedia?

10:23:40 PM May 10th 2010
Um. "Omniscient" means all-knowing. To me, from where I learned POVs, your "third-person universal omniscient" is my "third-person omniscient," and your "third-person omniscient" is my "third-person limited, multiple narrator."

You can do "first-person, multiple narrator," but almost no one does it in a single-book because it's an invitation to confusion. The Poisonwood Bible does this, but Kingsolver titles the chapters with the name of the narrator.

06:58:49 PM Jun 7th 2010
Agreed. A Song of Ice and Fire could be in a separate category — "third person limited sequential" or something like that — but it's definitely not omniscient.

(I'm writing a book with two first-person narrators right now... it's not that bad if you keep them in separate chapters and make sure the reader knows who's narrating which.)
12:38:58 PM Jun 13th 2010
Fixed, and I also fixed the claim that third person limited is the most common POV choice — which is true but Newer Than They Think.
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