Imagine what it would be like to know everything about a particular place and time, a particular city or region—its history and future, every memory and every secret, where a family heirloom was misplaced, or how an ill-conceived adventure will end.
This prompt explores the OMNISCIENT—or all-knowing—point of view (P.O.V.). Unlike third person limited
, which stays within the bounds of one character’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences, the OMNISCIENT P.O.V. is limitless and God-like. Here’s how J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
begins: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” Notice how with this omniscient perspective, we are not limited to just the interpretations and perspectives and feelings of the Hobbit. Instead, the viewfinder seems to be pulled way back, and we are looking down on the main character from a hovering camera.
Here’s another example, from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
. Notice how the narrator seems to know every
character, rather than just one: “Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain. Fifteen-year-old Jo was very tall, thin, and brown, and reminded one of a colt…Elizabeth, or Beth, as everyone called her, was a rosy, smooth-haired, bright-eyed girl of thirteen, with a shy manner, a timid voice, and a peaceful expression, which was seldom disturbed…”
Now it’s your turn, dear writers. Write the first paragraph of a story or novel, using the omniscient P.O.V. Remember to drift above the the scene, as Molly Ko does in her piece Strangerworld
, zooming in here and there, without limiting your perspective to just one character.
(For examples of less common P.O.V.s, check out these prompts on the collective perspective
, and second person perspective