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Viewpoint Different styles of 3rd person POV?


cat pancake
i have been thinking and seeing differences in how 3rd person POV changes depending on the style. i’m not talking about present vs. past tense, but more limited vs omnipresent 3rd person POV. i think i have come up with a general idea of what i mean by this?

with limited, like in the writing world, it means you’re only seeing the story from the perspective of one person. in rp, this entails:
  1. character not knowing information until it revealed. (example: not referring to a character by name until your character is told it)
  2. the story is seen through a filter of the characters own views. (example: a character might misread a situation, even if not intended, and not see something the same thing another character does)
  3. goes much more into character’s thoughts. (example: you might see a characters thought process written out before they react to a situation.
  4. written like the character is affecting the narration. (example: an excitable character might have a lot of sentences ending in exclamations marks!!! while a blunt character doesn’t. or a indecisive character...maybe not sounding too sure in their own thoughts maybe...)
with omnipresent, this changes a bit from the writing world description of it. while in writing this is access to all characters thoughts, in rp that is referred to as “meta gaming”, :^). so by omnipresent here, i mean more of a “neutral” view of the story, where one character’s POV isn’t twisting it. in rp, this entails:
  1. knowing information that the character doesn’t, in reason, obviously. (example: referring to a character by name even if your character doesn’t know it yet)
  2. characters understand situations as they are written. (example: a character mentions how another character seems mad, your character will see that character as mad too)
  3. everything is written a lot more neutral, like i stated before. (example: you won’t see characters thought processes written out, you will just see how they are feeling)
  4. is written like it’s one part of the big picture. (example: instead of being just “in the moment” replies, where only the things that are happening right now are mentioned, things in the future are alluded to quite a bit more than a limited perspective)
  5. if doubling, both POVs would be included in one post, rather than be split up by changing perspectives with a divider.
so, that’s my views on limited vs omnipresent third person POV rp style. i don’t think one is better than the other, but i def think people prefer one over the other! i like limited more, personally, but what do you guys like? if you disagree with any of my assessments, too, feel free to put in your own two cents :-). i am not an authority on this sort of stuff!

MG Maggio

New Member
I definitely enjoy limited 3rd best! It is often a little hard to stick with 100% when your character has some major misconceptions that your RP partner hasn't picked up on yet, but that's also quite fun in places.


cat pancake
You've learned, on your own, what you learn during 'university level' english classes. That is autodidactism, well done.
hehe, i don't think I'm too special for just observing something, though! i bet a lot of us are self-taught in creative writing on here, after all ;-). i just get bored and start noticing things, in an effort to curb my boredom, i think ;-).

I definitely enjoy limited 3rd best! It is often a little hard to stick with 100% when your character has some major misconceptions that your RP partner hasn't picked up on yet, but that's also quite fun in places.
people always say they dislike "miscommunication plot points", but truly, that is a natural thing that happens in storytelling, i'd say. people just don't like it when its done *badly*, which, i mean, no one likes improperly written things XD. characters knowing everything and never misinterpreting anything makes it harder for me to get really into a character's mindset, honestly. also, i think showing how your character thinks is just interesting in itself! when you do use misinterpretations, though, communication with your rp partner to make it clear that *you're not* misinterpreting something, your *character* is, is definitely important to do as well to work out any problems that may arise. which is why i think some people really just stay away from it in general, it's hard thing to keep in check and make it so it's consistent, as well.


The Red One
In my case, I definitely have to say I prefer 3rd person omnipresent over anything else. The thing is, while I can perfectly roleplay just one character, normally I prefer to have several. And that's kind of where things get really messy if I don't use an omnipresent style. You see, if I use a limited point of view, it becomes extremely difficult for me to provide my partner with all the details about my several characters. I like to write in a way that is an open book for all the characters equally.

That being said, the way I write third person omnipresent has a bit of overlap with how you describe limited, because even if I do write in a more neutral and universal way, I do still show the thought process and emotions of every one of my characters involved in the scene. The main reason why I don't feel comfortable with writing from a limited perspective is because I feel, reduntantly, limited by what that calls for. Having to limit my writing to what my characters knows and feels, and not being able to explain anything beyond what that character knows and feels, has never been one of my strengths.

In my roleplays, I tend to have more of a bird's eye view of the story, being able to include in my posts things that my characters might not be aware of, but doing so for the sake of providing a bigger picture for the story as a whole. So I usually don't use one of my characters as a POV, but rather, simply aim for showing everything that happening wherever any of my characters are involved: actions, emotions, thoughts, everything. So the way I write is through the lens of an omnipresent narrator, who is aware of every detail of the sctory, both the physical actions and the interior thoughts and emotions of each character.

That being said though, I do tend to dedicate segments of my posts to exploring each of my characters' inner thoughts and emotions a bit more deeply. So if two or three of my characters are in the same place at the same time, I will describe their actions in chronological manner, and while I'm at it, also give each of them a turn to be explored internally as they act. So say my first character says something, I will dedicate a space in my post to focus on that character's action, thoughts and emotions, and then do the same thing with the next character that speaks or does something, so on and so forth.

While in my writing I don't omit any details, even those the characters aren't aware of, I think what happens is that during those sections dedicated to each character in particular, I make it clear what they know and what they don't, so as to be able to provide a bigger picture of the story as a whole while still providing a deep view of everyone's thoughts as well. So I think in the end, I'd say my writing aligns mostly with the omnipresent style, but does dive a bit into more character-specific sections on occasions. Obviously, I tend to dedicate more time to showing the internal thoughts of main characters more than side characters, but even character's that don't seem too central to the story will still be explored from an internal perspective up to a certain point.

I do adapt though, and sometimes my roleplay partner will prefer a roleplay style that's more limited in how much it shares about other characters' thoughts and emotions, and thus I use an approach where I don't go into depth of what everyone is thinking. But my natural way of roleplaying is kind of like a setting where everything thats happens inside and outside every character's mind is free for my roleplay partner to see. Only if my roleplay partner prefers to see less of that, is that I tone it down to a different setting where there's a bit of "fog of war", I would put it, where I don't show anything the other person's characters wouldn't know, and thus I write from the perspective of what the other person's character could know and perceive.

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