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I'm confused about omniscient.  What is the difference between the authors voice and omniscient?  I thought the author was God.

Hello Aimee:

You pose an interesting question. Many writers are confused about POV, and some have different opinions about what constitutes the "omniscient" POV. Here's what I was taught in college:

In the totally omniscent POV (3rdP), the author is like God, in that she knows everything that is going on in the story, what every character is thinking, feeling and doing at all times, and may switch between them to reveal the same. Not everything, of course, but the pertinent parts, the parts the author chooses, that contribute to the story. The author may also insert comments of her own, i.e., "Now dear reader, you may..." This was popular a century or two ago, but is frowned on today, as it brings the story to a complete halt, and breaks the spell the author is so careful to create in the story, to keep the reader interested.

The confusion comes with what is called "limited omniscient" POV (3rd P.Ltd). In this POV, the author is still God, but does not insert her own comments, and when switching POV between characters, the new POV is often set apart with a couple of blank lines, or perhaps a new chapter, to signal to the reader that a change is coming.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high scores over 1350+ questions. If you have more questions, please come back, and we will attempt to answer them.

And thank you for writing!  

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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