Can the POV character be absent from a scene?

Wayne Mack

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What would be the best approach to introduce this omniscient narrator with no (apparent) POV? For instance, in other threads some use graphical elements to mark a change in POV (I've picked ###), but this situation is different; The POV is now omniscient.
Yes, use a section break. This is a change in PoV. One recommendation, though. Assuming that the other sections have been in a close third person or a first person PoV, I would use an objective omniscient, i.e., do not dip into any character's thoughts or feelings. If there is a need to show thoughts and feelings, then I would go with a new PoV from a character perspective.

It is often useful to build tension by giving the reader some information that is not known by the main characters. Switching to a different PoV, even for only a short section, is not unusual and should not be jarring to readers. The section break is a clear identifier, but it also should be apparent early in the section, perhaps even in the first sentence, that the PoV has changed.
 

AnyaKimlin

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You can make the author the narrator and write omniscient for the odd scene.

It's going to depend on your skills if you can make it work.
 

Fiberglass Cyborg

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Yes, use a section break. This is a change in PoV. One recommendation, though. Assuming that the other sections have been in a close third person or a first person PoV, I would use an objective omniscient, i.e., do not dip into any character's thoughts or feelings. If there is a need to show thoughts and feelings, then I would go with a new PoV from a character perspective.

It is often useful to build tension by giving the reader some information that is not known by the main characters. Switching to a different PoV, even for only a short section, is not unusual and should not be jarring to readers. The section break is a clear identifier, but it also should be apparent early in the section, perhaps even in the first sentence, that the PoV has changed.

This needs an upvote! As a reader, I've seen this kind of change in perspective used a lot, and for precisely this purpose. As you say, no inner thoughts or feelings of any of the characters. Just a fly-on-the-wall depiction of events that none of the viewpoint characters know about. Done right, it's effective and dramatic.
 

msstice

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but one of the first and most strong advices I got here was to stick with one to avoid head-hopping.
Not that this is what you were asking about, but I have come to believe that the only rule in writing is: don't unknowingly confuse your reader. The other rule, of course, is: don't bore your reader, but that (almost) everyone knows.

Every other rule we read is derived from this one rule as some attempt to codify what is confusing and what is not, but writing is open ended enough that such rules are not quite as valuable as one might think.

That said, there's no harm in sticking with a close third person narrative. Readers are used to it, and it allows you to more easily insert the reader into the drama of the story.

The close third person narrative allows you, during scene or chapter changes, switch to what ever other narrative form you want: epistolary (which sounds more erudite than "letters"), omniscient, second person (shudder), first person past, present, future (eh?).

As I read, I note that writers have done what ever they want stylistically, and they have gotten away with it as long as they follow the first and second rules.
 

Pyan

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However some readers I have experience with are annoyed by those types of breaks and would just as soon see just extra line spacing.​

That sounds a little petty, to put it mildly.

“Yes, the story was riveting, the characters were engaging and interesting, and I really enjoyed the book: but I had real problems with the use of an ellipsis to mark breaks in a chapter. If only you’d used extra line spacing instead…”
 

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