Baen's Bar contributors tend to disparage literary style and its supposed crucible, the writer workshop college model, MFA in particular, which, having been at both, Baen folk tend to misunderstand that the college model creative writing curricula resolves a majority of time upon a studio model more than a classroom model. Undergraduate creative writing introductory survey courses are prone to a more classroom-like model, though, not for BFA majors. Workshop "instructors" generally are facilitators and moderators more than instructors.
That, actually, is both a benefit and a shortfall of the standard workshop model. I've yet to encounter a creative writing instructor who appreciates the most fundamental parts of a well-crafted narrative, let alone teaches what can be taught about them. Plot, for example, which a cadre of instructors refer ironically to as a unforgiving tyrant and few can define usefully. Not to say that many writers or workshoppers really do know to much of a useful degree. Ones who do are the few who enjoy career success. They would rather write than teach though.
On the other hand, the studio model is akin to a focus group that "tests" a product's suitability for consumers. the audience, so to speak. However, much has been said about the fickleness of writers assessing writers' works. The model is a double-bind, and more, of subjective and objective parameters. Individual sentiments and sensibilities prevail and craft takes a back seat. Also, the subjective approach of a writer's topics, genres, and such draw negative criticisms if they don't align with a reader-responder's sentiments -- subjective piled onto subjective and confusion in a trackless dark reigns.
A dynamic workshop leaves personal sentiments at the door and focuses instead on "what works and what doesn't" for an assumed target audience, not the commentor's sentiments. How many times have workshop writers heard the preface, "Not my genre; however . . . " and then a commentor expound unintelligently about a genre's customs they don't know. Romance, science fiction, and fantasy draw those types of responses more than other genres. However, the craft basics and genre customs are universal and teachable to degrees and learnable to degrees. The onus, though, is on any given writer to self-teach and learn what works and what doesn't for an ideal target audience, in part by workshopping before a non-ideal target audience, largely, though, on the writer's initiative.
Omniscient viewpoints are one of many contemporary customs much maligned across writing culture. A sticking point of substance is the god-like lecture nature the form might take, a hypocrtitical or hegemenonic position that dictates conduct and brooks no defects.You must abide or be condemned. These types of narratives assert moral laws that are subject to question. They are largely do as I say, not as I do tableaus. And yes, they are accusations that masquerade as analyses, as well that criticisms of them are accusations that masquerade as analyses. Speaking of hypocrisy.
Artful omniscience, on the other hand, ironically uses unreliableness to pose the questions of personal and subjective morals. Actually, the narrator also takes a stand, asserts a moral law position, probably flawed, is emotionally invested in the action, and is affected by the action and outcome. Even if the narrator is not a character of the story. Actually, such a narrator is three distinguishable dramatic persons: narrator, implied writer, and real writer, each from a distinct voice, based upon attitude.
A real writer, for example, might express justified outrage about immoral conduct. The implied writer then might express doubt about the real writer's sanity and be open to finer, grayer scales than just ignoble and noble polar moral values. Maybe what's good is partly bad, too, and vice versa. Probably is. The narrator then might moderate between the two voices, or take a congruent though disparate position.
Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions partly uses that voice distinction mannerism, plus, the Vonnegut persona is also a distinct character of several voices for the novel's latter parts. "This is an" excretory orifice: * That comment is a real-writer self-effacing observation, by the way, (that "I" am an excretory orifice and all that idiom entails,) another custom of contemporary, well-crafted omniscient viewpoints: strong emotional attitude directed -- physician heal thyself-like -- to the self of the writer.
Good and bad are a polar duality of black and white categorization based upon absolutes, a one-size-fits-all versus an otherwise no-fit-at-all, get-ye-gone-right-now paradigm. Omniscient viewpoints aren't per se good or bad; done bad, done good, to degrees, yes. However, audience niches approve or disapprove by default based upon culture customs and vogues they might be aware of rather than what works and what doesn't for whomsoever the possible real audience target is. Not for every real reader, nor for every workshop mate, nor for critics, nor for culture dictators, for an assumed target audience -- implied readers.
The general public are not so judgmental as writers; the public relies upon the culture's arbitrators to compose, screen, publish, and promote to their tastes and sensibilities' preferences. This is partly Hans Christian Anderson's "The Emperor's New Clothes." Supposed experts say these clothes are so and good, yet a measure of common sense and subjectivity prevail, eventually. The emperor is naked, not clothed, after all.
However, writers and such know a degree more about story craft than the general public generally does. A distinction of note is how a given method or device, part, parcel, or whole works or doesn't work, for individuals and audiences in general.
One of the more common shortfalls of the "tyro" writer is first person viewpoint. Which workshoppers might or might not, probably not, be able to more than say something's off or on, doesn't like first person anyway, works or doesn't work-wise, then pick on subjective sentiments that are contrary to the commentor's.
A first person challenge is the form's strength: personal intimacy and individual subjectivity, yet many first person narratives dwell too close personally and too objectively. Such a narrator closely mediates the action and opens first person's default close distance. For example, : _I saw_ James fire the cannon that then killed Melissa. Then _I saw_ her head exploded into a million shatters. Okay maybe for dialogue -- dead prose though, emotionless.
Bertolt Brecht's Distance Effect estranges readers from a narrative's up-close-and-personal immersion spell, for a questionable though justifiable function; that is, a device in clumsy hands for explanation of the action. In masterful hands, the method shows hidden intents. A viewpoint character comments parenthetically to readers as if the comment is a nonvolitional thought expressed to the self, raised by the immediate circumstances, for example. Among other stream-of-conciousness and similar dialogue methods. Net effect, though, is of reader immersion through opened distance.
Harold Pinter's Immersion Effect in masterful hands likewise immerses readers though through close distance artfully managed. In clumsy hands. Immersion Effect unnaturally expresses emotional texture, so-labeled melodrama for solely plot movement. The much misused sigh, for example. I sighed . . . then the cause of the sigh is given, inverted causation, and the cause of the sigh assumes readers react to sensations the same one-size-fits-all way. The setup is skipped altogether, like that she sighed because Melissa was guilty of mass murder, the sigh taken to mean disgust and horror rather than, what, guilty satisfaction? Emotional texture missed altogether.
Immersion Effect, Distance Effect, and omniscient viewpoint go hand-in-hand-in-hand when subjective-objective attitude management and emotional texture are foreground and masterfully crafted. Such a story doesn't call undue attention to the god-like lecture of a moral law message, not moral or message or method, personal discovery and both and and.