Once upon a time there was a circlet of islands that rose high and rugged from the great ocean. The islands were greener than the greenest grass and offered sanctuary for sea-faring birds and furred creatures who spent their days fishing.
The Netters came to scale the cliffs and pick sweet buttercups and clover. A Netter never saw a flower that she didn't want to consume, because everyone knew flowers held the secrets of the gods.
Squalls hit the islands, sending waves thundering on the shores and gushing up the underground caves where the Netters huddled until calm returned.
They didn't mind suffering a smidgen for the chance to unlock mysteries too long denied them.
So have you ever made up stories as you walk, when you encounter something intriguing? I do.
These are tide pool rocks in San Clemente. Sometimes the water covers them and other times it sucks away to leave them on damp sand. The first time I saw them I thought they looked like a miniature, fairytale Ireland. So I made up a mini-story or two.
Even as these photos are shot from high above the "islands," fairy tales are often told from an omniscient point of view. The author is god-like and knows the past, present and future, as well as the thoughts and desires of all the characters.
This viewpoint was popular in early novels, but today many books stick with limited third person or first person, so that the reader knows only what one character is thinking. The advantage to this is the author can create mystery. It mimics real life where we only know what other people tell us or indicate by body language and deeds. Sometimes, of course, the viewpoint character gets it wrong, and that can add depth to a plot.
Some modern novels alternate POV between a few major characters by chapter or hiatus breaks. This still keeps the viewpoint close to each character, but the reader is clued in to more information.
And some writers mix up many characters' thoughts throughout. The danger of multiple head-hopping within a scene is you can confuse your readers so they come out of the magic of the story to figure out who was just having that observation or opinion.
There is plenty of debate and discussion about this topic. Check out Shelley at the Storyqueen's Castle, and Livia Blackburne. The Literary Lab has several, in-depth essays on the subject.
I've come to the conclusion that the choice of which POV to use is connected to the type of story. If it's a fable-type yarn, omniscient gives that delicious gods-are-watching effect. If it's a particular character's journey, quest, coming-of-age, emotional awakening, whatever, I think it's best told in tight POV because it really is about the evolution of that character. But that's my opinion. What's yours?