Imagine for a moment, a captain standing on the top deck of his ship, looking down at his crew working like busy little ants with the sea and open sky spread out before him. His mission is to get his ship from Ireland to England. Plain and simple. He doesn’t care about how his second mate just lost a daughter to pneumonia three months ago, and the first mate has been picking up his slack. He doesn‘t care that two of the cabin boys used to be lovers and are now quarreling by spreading nasty rumors about each other. All he cares about are the facts and his mission. That’s it.

This is the difference between objective and subjective perspective.

Objective writing is often seen with omniscient writing, but where some writers get confused between omniscient and third person multiple is in the difference between objective and subjective narrative perspective.

Omniscient usually only cares about the facts. They aren’t into those touchy-feely emotions. It’s more about Telling than Showing. They are the captain of that ship, plowing through the plot with only the points that matter.

Subjective narrative is like the first mate, who knows all the back stories of every crew member. He knows the tear in one of the sails could go at any minute, and continually sends crewmen up to check and repair it. He doesn’t want to tell the captain because he doesn’t want to worry him, all while trying to keep the ship under control despite the damn rumors from the 2 cabin boys.

In subjective narrative, we know the emotions, we feel the feelings, we understand the opinions that guide the characters through the plot.

Take a look at your current narrative and ask yourself, are you the captain or are you the first mate?