The Harrowing Head-Hop

Awhile ago, I said I’d do both an article and a Twitter thread on what I called pseudo-omniscient perspective, also known as; head-hopping. This is half of that promise fulfilled.

First, let’s define what pseudo-omniscient is, and is not.

Point of View

There are three main points of views, or POVs that everything, including pseudo-omniscient, fall under.

  • First Person: the narrator is a character within the story, typically the protagonist. This provides a sense of immediacy, but limits what you can show since the reader can only see what the character sees.
  • Second Person: the protagonist is you, the reader. If done well, can provide a greater sense of immersion. Great for shorter works, hard to sustain for longer ones.
  • Third Person: most common POV type. The narrator doesn’t exist in the story and the protagonist is a normal character. Can be tailored to be as close or as distant as you want it to be.

Pseudo-omniscient falls squarely within the Third Person category.

Most books written in third person fall in one of two categories: close-third and omniscient. Think of pseudo-omniscient as being between those two. At the risk of veering off-topic, I’d like to talk about both of those types so we can see what pseudo-omniscient really is.

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