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Old 02-09-2015, 06:00 PM View Post #3 (Link)
Infinity_Man (Offline)
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Originally Posted by GeonamicWarrior View Post
I can see why because if the pulled back narrator spoiled everything there is to know, they're be no suspense, no mystery, and no plot twists. Imagine if your example of the skull-scarred guy was going to be revealed by the narrator instead of the main character who should have gotten the revelation based on the scar? Besides that, this is an amazing guide. I'll be adding it in to my Guides' Gate thread in the Guides and Quick Tips section, ok?
I'd say it depends on the type of omniscient narrator (I say omniscient, even though you didn't specify which kind of narrator, as that was the example you picked up on). A subjective omniscient narrator could have any reason to withhold that information. But, like I said, why would an objective omniscient narrator do so? I'm not saying an OON has to reveal everything, like what the girl down the street is thinking about, or what the main character's dog ate for lunch that day, but if something as important as "this character is a villain" was kept from me in an OON story, I'd feel cheated. That's the author purposely withholding information, despite the style of POV they've chosen, and that would just remind me I'm reading a story crafted by someone who wanted me to experience their plot twist.

On that note, there are good ways to write a plot twist, and bad ways to write a plot twist. If the plot twist only works because the narrator who, by definition, knows everything conveniently forgot to mention someone was a villain without a reason, it's not a rewarding plot twist. The best kind of plot twist, in my opinion, is the kind that, once revealed, we realize is obviously the only way the story could go, and we could have figured it out if we'd truly thought about it and put the pieces together. But if there's a piece missing because "the God narrator didn't mention it" then it's not that great a twist.

And I can totally imagine an omniscient narrator revealing the villain to the reader, and the kind of literary techniques we could get from that alone, like dramatic irony. But hell, if you think there'd be no tension then you obviously aren't picturing what I'm picturing, i.e scenes of the hero with his best friend, who is really the antagonist waiting for the right moment to kill him, as we watch the two of them move through the plot together, one completely unwitting to his coming demise, wondering when the shoe will drop. If you want an example of this, look at Season 2 of The Walking Dead television show: the audience knows that Shane has gone a little axe-crazy, to say the least, and wants Rick dead. Rick doesn't know that Shane wants him dead, and thinks they're both still friends. The writers of the show do an excellent job using the audience's knowledge to build tension whenever Shane and another unwitting character are in a room together. I've been told Frank Herbert's Dune is a great example of an effective omniscient narrator, especially one who reveals things like secret villains and whatnot, but I've not read it myself so I can't say for certain.

Knowing all and, unless they're a subjective omniscient, sharing all is kind of the point of the Omniscient narrator, and if you want mystery and plot twists, you probably chose the wrong POV for your story.
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						Last edited by Infinity_Man; 02-09-2015 at 06:04 PM.
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