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The Dreaded Omniscient Voice... I think.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Jerry, Dec 22, 2021.

  1. Puck

    Puck Minstrel

    If done right. Juvenal does that. At least one of his satires reads as if "this is the opinion of Juvenal, talking to us, his readers". It reads like that almost up until the end, when Juvenal flips it and suddenly we are uncertain 'who' this narrator character is. Is he Juvenal? If so then Juvenal has revealed himself as a hypocrite. Or was he actually an invented character the whole time?

    Whoever 'he' is, he present us with the picture of a wealthy Roman of senatorial class who pompously lectures us on the merits of a simple pastoral life in the countryside - only to reveal, at the last moment, that he is actually living the life of a cosmopolitan city dweller. Whoever the narrator is supposed to be, we are left in no doubt that his real life and the values he espouses are completely at odds with each other.

    Was the narrator an omni-voice or the voice of a character? Juvenal leaves that question open to interpretation. Leaving the question open means the message is unclear. Deliberately so in my opinion. Is Juvenal extoling the virtues of a simple country life? Or is he exposing the hypocrisy of people who idealise a pastoral existence whilst making their livings in a big city? Or both? Clever writing.
  2. S J Lee

    S J Lee Inkling

    Sorry, I hated it! Or at least, it was as boring as hell. Not that my opinion matters, except as part of a poll. I didn't think TP anywhere near as funny as he thought he was, sorry. I got halfway through the Colour of Magic and realised I hadn't laughed, and stopped. Oh well.... but I don't begrudge it to those who liked it ...

    But "breaking the 4th wall" is sometimes like an Om Narrator, I now think... it worked well enough in comedy movies like Wayne's World and Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail ... sometimes "bad" omniscient writing is a lot like breaking the 4th wall in a theatre or movie. When it is done well, it isn't like it. I wish I had a formula for when it works and when it does not!
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2021
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    The OP need keep only two things in mind.
    One, write well and it will sell. Write it bad and you're had.
    Two, No matter what you write, some will like it and some will not, and there's not a thing you can do about that.

    Of course, there's always more than two things, right? So here are more. Bonus tracks.
    1. Market well, or neither one nor two will matter. Not even rhyming advice will help. Your work will sink away unnoticed and unremarked.
    2. Please yourself first. Forget about style, approach and the rest, at least for now. Write a story *you* like.
    3a. If you get the story written and you're not happy with it, then you can start looking around for advice.
    3b.If you get the story written and you like it, it's time to shop it. Beta readers. ARC reviews.
    4. If you get over that hurdle, go ahead and publish.
    5. See 1, above.
    6. But at least by this point you'll know you've done your best. Now go do better.
    Ruru, Chessie2, Demesnedenoir and 2 others like this.
  4. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    Or send it off to Skip and if he gives it the nod, say WTF and publish, heh heh.
    FifthView and A. E. Lowan like this.
  5. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Skip is generally right. :D
  6. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    I'm pretty sure my editor and Skip were the only two people to read Eve of Snows in total before publishing and that worked out well enough, heh heh.
    Chessie2 and A. E. Lowan like this.
  7. Jerry

    Jerry Scribe

    I just want to mention that I have been soaking in every single word of this post, and I am ever grateful for this exceptional Christmas present. All of you, my deepest thanks!
    A. E. Lowan likes this.
  8. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

    Hello, nice to meet you. I write in omniscient. I also write in 3rd pov but omniscient is my favorite. My 2 cents: if that is the perspective and style that allows you to create your work freely from start to finish, then use it. Writing a book is hard. You want to have a process that includes user friendly tools. A lot of this is intuitive. You learn the craft and how to structure a book but you also have your own style that you will hone forever.

    One thing that helps me be mindful of jarring the reader is to consider the narration like a tv camera. You want to zoom in and out with ease; make the narration flow with ease for the reader even though you're switching characters and perspectives. Omniscient is a lovely style and definitely out of fashion but who cares about that anyway. Write what strikes your fancy in a way that feels natural to you.
  9. Wait, I can get Skip to give me a nod of approval on my books? And all it takes is sending him a copy of my novel? I want one!
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    >I want one!
    Which, a novel or a nod?

    I don't just give away Nods of Approval. Nods of Acknowledgment, sure. Sometimes even a Knowing Nod.

    Nods of Approval are available for lease on favorable terms. On Approval of Credit, of course. Don't want any books that aren't creditable.
    Prince of Spires and A. E. Lowan like this.
  11. A nod of course. Novels I've got plenty of, nods of approval not that many ;)

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