adventures in dysthymia

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Omniscient

In the “Donzalo’s Destiny” books, I did not quite employ an omniscient narrator but I did use multiple points of view. Generally, only one to a scene though I did not absolutely stick to that. I did not tell what was going on in minor characters’ heads, nor did I explain reasons for actions by pretty much anybody.

I did give the thoughts of major characters, as I said, one at at time — usually. But I do not analyze people in any of my books. I let them attempt to explain themselves, to themselves, to others, and one may or may not accept those explanations. I let other characters try to figure them out and come up with their own theories which, again, may not be at all accurate.

I’ve stated before that I have a distaste for authors who try to psychoanalyze their characters. It will always come off as shallow, simplistic, and quite likely outdated in a few years. Humans are complex! If they were simple, there would not be much point in writing anything about them. I am not even inclined to mention broad personality traits, if possible; I try not to say outright that someone is shy or vain or whatever. It is better to show it or to have some character think or say it.

I suppose I am fond of the unreliable narrator. Everyone sees something differently, interprets it and reports it through their own filters. That includes, of course, the author! I try to keep him out of the way, however, and let the characters do their job. I like the idea of letting them come to conclusions I might not myself. Although, of course, they are alternate versions of me, costumes I put on, roles I act out on the pages.

Admittedly, about half my novels so far have been first person. That changes things — there is only one narrator, reliable or not. Everything goes though his or her filters. Some of the others are third person, as is ‘Donzalo,’ but from only one or two points of view. That is the only novel (or series of novels, depending on how you look at it*) where I have used multiple POVs and approached that omniscient concept. And it is probably as close as I shall ever get to it. There will eventually be a sequel to “Donzalo’s Destiny” and it will be written in that same style, lots of short scenes, going from character to character and subplot to subplot.

It was a lot of work, which may be why I haven’t tackled the project yet! But there is a story and I do want to tell it.

*DD was written as eleven novella and novelette-length pieces, all one continuing story but each with its own arc, and published in four books: “The Song of the Sword,” “The Shadow of Asak,” “The Sign of the Arrow,” and “The Hand of the Sorcerer.” An all-in-one edition has since been added.

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