I'm writing a story which starts with the birth of the MC; the scene just shows the parents talking with the doctor. The MC enters the picture in third person limited in the following scene (and the POV continues throughout the story).

Is this still third person limited? Or it's third person omniscient at first and then I have to change the POV to third person limited with a scene break?

2 Answers 2


Third person omniscient and third person limited are analytical categories. They are terms you use if you want to dissect the use of POV in a piece. Don't take them for rules about what you have to do, and don't think you have to even be able to describe what you end up doing in those terms. The fact of the matter is that writers switch POV all the time, and that in many cases it is not clear what analytical category POV even belongs to. (Third person omniscient, for instance, can see everything that third person limited can, so it is not always clear which is being used unless the narrative clearly steps outside of limited.)

Do what works for your story. If it seems natural to you and to readers it is fine, even if you can't categorize it exactly, and even if analysis says it is inconsistent.

  • 2
    exactly this. Don't sweat the details so much. They are descriptive terms, not prescriptive rules. Dec 13, 2016 at 12:23

I would start the story in the third person "cinematic" (no head-dipping), and then switch to the third person limited after a scene or chapter break, just as you plan.

Third person omniscient will work for the beginning, too, but is arguably harder to make sound natural than any other flavors of that POV, this is why it is relatively less popular in modern writing.

Writers do switch POV within one scene more often than not—I am not a fan of that technique—it is eventually a matter of style and personal preference.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.