Limited Omniscient Viewpoint

The modernized version of omniscient viewpoint is limited omniscient viewpoint, a very powerful technique indeed. Limited omniscient viewpoint works like this: the author claims the right to go into the heads only of certain characters and not others. These selected characters, usually the protagonist and two or three others, are called "viewpoint characters." While the narrator is in the head of a character, because of the magic of identification, the reader is living that character's life. Unlike omniscient viewpoint, in limited omniscience the reader is not asked to switch viewpoint too often yet has the chance to enjoy intimacy with more than a single character.

This is how the Victorian scene above might be written in limited omniscience:

When Kathryn opened the door, she was aghast: there stood Henry, wet, drawn, and tired. He looked positively numb from the cold. She showed him immediately into the library where her old grandfather was pacing, his back bent, under the chandelier. He'd been there, she knew, since noon. She guessed his feeble mind was in a terrible turmoil (all from Kathryn's viewpoint).

A severe form of limited omniscience is single viewpoint. It has most of the disadvantages of a first-person narrative, except that the narrator can relate events that happen out of the viewpoint character's purview.

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