What’s the Point… of View

Let me preface this post by admitting it isn’t my usual thing. I’m working on a project for a Creative Writing class I’m currently taking and wanted to poll the internet realm on a question. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on point of view and what’s popular, easiest, “best, etc. I started a piece using third person editorial omniscient. Then I read numerous articles saying readers today dislike omniscient narrators because they desire a more personal connection with characters. I’ve enjoyed a few books with omniscient narrators and was wondering if I’m just abnormal. What are your favorite points of view to read and/or write? If you’ve got time I included that beginning of my work in progress and would love feedback on feelings about the point of view or any feedback in general.

Thanks internet!

Caitlin

Judgment by Chance

            Every city had a Reader. Every Reader hated books. This has been true since as long as anyone’s oldest relative could remember remembering. The idea’s birthplace remains a mystery. Nobody who is willing to share knows who created the magic of Readers, it just was. Sort of like gravity, except a surprising amount of people decide to challenge gravity by jumping off roofs and the likes, whereas Readers were more universally accepted. This made them the main authority of the land and was generally considered an improvement to the time before readers by those categorized as the little people. The less little people preferred the old system of “Might is Right” but they were outnumbered and smart enough, for the most part, to keep their mouths shut.

Knowing all of this, Chance was less than thrilled when a letter from the University bearing the Reader crest of two books on a scale arrived on his doorstep. During the seconds it took to crack open the letter’s red wax seal, Chance had already envisioned a multitude of ways this could end in unpleasant death. Chance possessed what his mother kindly termed an overeager imagination. Where normal people saw shadows, Chance saw dark garbed assassins.  Having no enemies who would possibly want to assassinate him, he recognized his own paranoia. Chance grimly reassured himself; Readers had been assassinated in the past so maybe his paranoia would prove valid.

His brown leather boots made little noise as he walked into the kitchen and sat down on an old mead barrel under a slightly crooked wood sign that read, “Home is where the food is.” His mother immediately noticed the envelope and called his father in from working on their farm. The message was simple, “The University believes you possess the magic necessary to become a Reader. A teacher will collect you and bring you to the university within the fortnight.” Everyone sat in silence searching for certain words. They mentally shuffled around letters hoping to add them into words that would equal a logical, helpful sentence.

“Being a reader is an honor,” Chance’s mother said, hands wringing her yellow apron, “an honor, dear. Really.”

“Yes,” his father said, “we’re quite, um, proud. Proud indeed.”

All three knew they were pretending but no one was ready to give up the pretense. The world survives on pretense. To be fair, becoming a Reader is prestigious; Reader’s make good money, receive an education, and become powerful members of society. Yet it’s one of those honors better when it’s happening to someone else. Though the position receives respect, few Readers would win their town’s popularity contest. Chance had met two Readers in his lifetime and never seen either smile. Having a neighbor or a second cousin as a Reader would have been plenty of prestige for the Whyte family.

Chance stood up, “Maybe it’s a mistake, or I’ll get to the University and they’ll realize I’m not a Reader. I can’t be a Reader. I can’t. I’m only eighteen. I thought they waited until you were twenty-one. Why aren’t they waiting?”

He walked out and no one stopped him. As dusk fell he returned to his once comforting room. The simple furnishing made the presence of the handcrafted bookshelf particularly prominent. Chance kicked it. Kicked meaning made contact with his foot but if the bookshelf were a shin it’d think someone politely desired its attention. His heart wasn’t in the kick, it was too busy beating quickly in his chest as he imagined terror after terror the life of a Reader would bring. Chance picked up a book and cocked back his arm. The position wasn’t comfortable for long and he set the book on the bed. Starting to pace, he picked it up again. Standing too quickly, he struck his head on the exposed beams of the house and decided he’d had enough for the day. Gently setting the book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales down on the floor, he pulled a patchwork quilt over his head and decided to seek better fortune in his dreams.

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2 thoughts on “What’s the Point… of View

  1. schillingklaus says:

    I like editorial omniscient narration, and no vulgar mob will be able to prevent me from deploying this style deliberately and religiously. Domn’t like it—don’t read it!

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