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Ed
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« on: May 26, 2006, 05:33:52 PM »

I suppose the basic three are first, second and third person points of view. 

First - I did this, I did that, etc.
Second - You did this, you did that, etc.
Third - He/she/they did this, did that, etc.

But in addition to these there are kinds of subdivisions, like 'Fly on the Wall' (also called "reportorial style," or "objective
    reporting,"), 'omniscient' and my personal favourite - Indirect Freestyle.

Fly on the wall POV is as it sounds - the story is told as if the narrator is a fly on the wall.  The narrator is completely objective and describes events as they unfold, impassively and without giving us any of the characters' thoughts.

Omniscient is where the narrator knows everything and is free to hop from character to character, relaying their thoughts and whatever else comes up, both on and off screen.  This is still a valid point of view, no matter what anybody tells you.

Indirect Freestyle is an oblique third person narrative, where the narrator borrows from the character's vocabulary and tells the story in their voice, or at least with a touch of the character's voice.


A lot of writers worry about POV slips unnecessarily.  If you are writing your story in omniscient POV you cannot 'slip' - the narrator is God - knows everything, is everywhere, can say whatever it wants and is never wrong.

However, slips in other PsOV you should take notice of and avoid doing because they will destroy the credibility of the narrator, not to mention you, the writer.

Any thoughts? smiley
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2006, 06:07:47 PM »

I thought the Omniscient POV was passe? Like Dickens, and all the old style writers, who would say, "Dear reader..." or "If only he knew how things would turn out..."

My editor told me that current American writers, editors, and publishers frown on that. Since the "novel is no longer experimental, that one of the rules is to AVOID the omniscient."

Not having published a novel, I can't speak from experience, but she'd edited 36 best-sellers, so I have to think she's on to something!
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2006, 06:50:24 PM »

She may be right about what's right for the market now, or in a particular genre, but it is still a valid device, and times change.  How many times have you seen guidelines that say publishers don't want stories written in the 1st person?  Yet a couple years ago that's all they wanted.  The publishing world seems to go through fads of fashion and, frankly, I think it's bullshit to rule out a perfectly good writing tool purely on that basis. 

Catch 22 is written in omniscient - does that make it a bad book?  I don't think so.  It's thought by many to be one of the finest novels ever written, but I could tear it apart, based on 'rules' that get bandied about in online writing circles.

As always I stand to be corrected, but I strongly believe omniscient suits some stories very well and authors shouldn't be afraid to use it. smiley
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2006, 07:10:23 PM »

I think Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub is omniscient. It starts with a (literally) birds eye view of the town where the story is set. And uses the bird as a device from time to time to switch between stories. Sound like a bird-brained scheme? I don't know. I think it kinda works.

And I guess that is the key. If a mag says they don't want a particular POV but you write in that POV and blow them away from the first line, they will buy the story.

At the con I went to recently, that was what the editors on the panel said. I think for novice writers it's best to try and send stories places where they comply with guidelines, but if it's a great story, I think all the rules go out the window.

I think Indirect Freestyle seems to be a popular choice lately.
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2006, 08:22:23 PM »


I think Indirect Freestyle seems to be a popular choice lately.

You mind unpacking that?  I thought I was pretty knowledgable about writing, in the sense of being able to use the right words and terms, but I don't think I've ever seen that one before.

On the main topic, I tend to agree with blunt:  Authors should use what fits a given story without regard to whatever is "in fashion."  Of course, noobs should probably do a little research and send stories to markets whose guidelines they match.  Not only would you have to blow a mag away from the first word if they said "no first person stories" and you sent one anyway, you'd probably have to have a name the editor/reader would recognize.

I try to split my writing between first and third person POVs.  (We'll leave out the occasional foray into second.)  There are strengths and weaknesses to each.  I tend to think of it as part of "voice," which is often the first thing I get--even before story/plot.
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2006, 05:49:02 AM »

IFS is believed to have originated with Flaubert, but was first named when Proust used it (if memory serves).  There used to be a damn good link to it at Wittenberg, but it's been taken down and not replaced.  The Internet Archive catalogued it at this address - http://web.archive.org/web/20040330034524/www4.wittenberg.edu/academics/engl/GrammarDumb/Fly+on+Wall+and+IFS.html but as I write that's also down huh  It's a conspiracy I tell you!! undecided

Basically, what IFS boils down to (IMO) is a smoother style of writing that seduces the reader more easily than conventional 3rd person. 

For example -

Quote
Pauline cleared the seed and droppings from the floor of the parrot's cage while the creature flapped and squawked its disapproval on a perch above her.  God damned thing, she thought, I would like to make it into a pie with a creamy white wine sauce and some poisonous mushrooms that I could serve to its master.

Becomes -

Quote
Pauline cleared the seed and droppings from the floor of the parrot's cage while the creature flapped and squawked its disapproval on a perch above her.  The God damned bird would make a nice pie, chopped up, sauteed in a white wine sauce and garnished with wild mushrooms - the poisonous type, of course.  Only the best for his master.

It's a lot closer to the character - right inside her mind instead of feeling like it's relayed through another party. 

Another example -

Quote
Darren scaled the fence and let himself drop into the creepy old man's garden.

In this instance the word 'creepy' would be IFS because it's from the POV of Darren and expresses his attitude to the man.

I can't illustrate it as well as he does on the link above, but that's the gist of it smiley
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2006, 06:09:24 PM »

Oh.

It's extremely tight third, with pretensions.  Wink  Knew the technique; never heard (or saw) that term for it before.

In fact, the story I posted for crits in April probably ventures into that voice at points.
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2006, 06:29:14 PM »

Yup - you've no idea how pleased I was when I first found out there was a name for 'my technique'.  I wrote in this style for quite a long time before I found out it was a legitimate form - I was always getting criticised for using it, but it felt right. 

It's very similar to first person, really, isn't it? scratch
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2006, 06:44:56 PM »

In some ways.  You have (ideally) deep involvement in the inner life of the POV character.  That's in common.

IMO, however, it's hard to get the character's voice (as opposed to the author's) without going to the "I."
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2006, 05:09:24 PM »

I've been looking at this again today, and seeing as though it's difficult to navigate to the page at the internet archive and they don't appear to let you link directly to it, I thought I'd paste the article here, so that it's on hand.

***

TWO KINDS OF POINTS
                OF   VIEW
                                                            (and an Exercise)
This link will give you a discussion, and brief exercise near the end, on two different kinds
of point of view. The first is the extreme objective point of view made famous by Hemingway.
It's often called the fly-on-the-wall point of view, as if your viewing perspective from which to
tell your story were a mere brainless fly, perched on the wall--all it can do is see. Observe. It
has no mind, it can't interpret. It can't tell, it just shows.  It can only reports what's going on.   It's also called   "the reportorial point of view"   or     "the objective point of view."



        THE "FLY-ON-THE-WALL" POINT OF VIEW

        Take a look at a passage where you can't know anything about the author's, or more
   precisely, about the narrator's attitudes, not even why this speaking voice of the narrator chose to
   tell this particular story:

        Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and
        found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped
        Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way
        through the crowd. The people separated good-humoredly to let her
        through: two or three people said, in voices just loud enough to
        be heard across the crowd, "Here comes your Missus, Hutchinson," and
        "Bill, she made it after all."

            This is called the fly-on-the-wall point of view. We become that fly
    and observe without interruption of any of the character's thoughts. Total
    objectivity: we see only what a camera would catch.

             It's like a security camera in a bank. We are told nothing
    about the characters' states of mind. You'll remember how eerie that is
    in this piece, Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." If you've never read it, do
    so.
            This also gets called the "reportorial style," or "objective
    reporting," and you'd place it at the opposite end of the spectrum from
    stream-of-consciousness and interior monologue.
            The beauty of any third person pov is its flexibility. With first person...
    you're pretty much stuck in the mind of a single character, and you'll find
    yourself getting sick of it. It claustrophobic. You soon find yourself employing
    every device there is to lighten it up--letters, phone conversations, stories within
    stories...  just so you can get a thoughtful pov other than that of your ' I '. Even
    with that, it can get terribly mono-tonous. But 3rd person can fluctuate between
    a kind of neutral style and one which is very much akin, like an echo or an
    overtone,  to 1st person narration. You do this by simply using the vocabulary
    and mentality of the character you're talking ABOUT, in 3rd person--but you
    wind up sounding like them, almost as if you were inside their head.
            In the following, locate where the first shift away from the neutral
    3rd person pov, over to the boy's own speech, occurs:

                He had been kept after school again. It was a simple matter
        of writing "Good boys do not cheat" fifty times and then cleaning
        up the classroom, but it took the length of the afternoon. Now he was
        in a hurry to get home because the shadows were long and it would be
        dark and scary soon. The short cut was through crazy old Mr. Syke's
        back lot--"Old Mr. Syke is higher than a kite" they used to chant,
        though no one had ever seen him actually drunk. He slipped through
        the hedge, down across the corner of the lawn, and under the trees.

            This device, of zooming in from the more objective 3rd person, zooming in to
        very close to sounding like 1st person, and then back out to 3rd person, is called:
 

                            THE INDIRECT FREE STYLE

        Invented by the 19th c. French novelist Flaubert, but not named, I think, till Proust wrote
an essay about it, in early 20th century.  It is called, by Proust, "le style indirect libre."
                                            The indirect free style.
        It's 'indirect'  because your angle on your favored character is oblique--third person narrative--('direct' would be "I", "I said", and what I said). It's 'free' because you're free to zoom
into that character's mind, not to quote it, but to steal a little (or a lot) of its coloring, even as you
trip along saying the character did this and said that: the character had to hurry along through crazy
old Mr. Sykes' back yard.
                                                            -----
        In the passage a few |P'S above, where I asked you to locate the shift from a neutral pov to one
that was involved with the personality of the main character, if you fingered 'scary' and 'crazy' in
the 3rd and 4th sentences, you got it. Did you? It's obvious when you see it, and are trained to it,
but you'd be amazed how easily it can slip by your average reader, though still having its effect on
him.

        He had been kept after school again. It was a simple matter
        of writing "Good boys do not cheat" fifty times and then cleaning
        up the classroom, but it took the length of the afternoon. Now he was
        in a hurry to get home because the shadows were long and it would be
        dark and scary soon. The short cut was through crazy old Mr. Syke's
        back lot--    et cetera

        Note just below here, in Paul Thorn's (Witt '90) story, "The Year in a Day of a Senior," note
how the narrative 'creaks' a little, sounds a little hokey, a little too pretendy, and then note what
happens to that slightly rancid flavor when you transpose from Paul's interior monologue--the
character George thinking to himself, saying "I"--transpose from that (quoted just below) over to a third person, indirect free style point of view:                                                        [This paragraph is in 3rd person with
        George has been admiring his polished and purring car for a             some interior monologue and some
        couple of opening paragraphs, looking at his reflection in the            plain old just-talking-to-himself.]
        wax job, and says to himself, Jesus, look at those spokes sparkle.
           "Hell of a job, ol Georgie boy. She looks as beautiful as ever,"
        he said grinning ear to ear.
           All those hard-worked overtime hours finally paid off. The calluses
        on my hands will feel a lot better on the steering wheel than that damn
        pitch fork I pushed all summer.
           "I'm finally free," he muttered. I no longer have to have my
        parents drive me to school and embarrass the hell out of me by kissing
        me good-bye in front of my friends. Now I can get all of that mushy
        queer stuff over with in the safe confines of my own driveway.
            "I'm ready to go," George called into the house.

[Now, look at, or read almost aloud to yourself, the same passage
transposed from the interior monologue bits above, and the fairly awkward
'mumbling-to-himselfs', look at it transposed over into indirect free style:  ]

        Jesus, look at those spokes sparkle.                                                 [Whereas this paragraph is set in IFS.]
        "Hell of a job, ol Georgie boy. She looks as beautiful as ever,"         

he said aloud, grinning ear to ear.
        All those hard-worked overtime hours had finally paid off. The
calluses on his hands would feel a lot better on the steering wheel than
on that damn pitch fork he'd pushed all summer.
        "Finally free," he muttered. No more mom and dad kissing him
good-bye in front of God and everybody--when they dropped him off at school.
Now just God looking on, safe in the confines of George's own driveway.
        "I'm ready to go," he called into the house.

Exercise  (in red, below)
This half-first-person/half-third-person point of view is quite effective when one is writing about children, I think because
the distance between their consciousness and that of an omniscient or even objective narrator can be so great, and the greater
this distance is, the more it will cool down the feeling:
            The boy thought about his imaginary friends. One of them he imagined as very tall, almost as tall as a
            house, but the other one he could only imagine as quite small, no bigger than a toy soldier.

  What's fun in those two lines is the burgeoning possibility of childhood magic--imaginary friends, one a giant, the other
a Tom Thumb. But it's hard to get to the magic through words like 'he imagined them' and 'no bigger than.' These are
staid adult phrases--the language is buffering the feeling. Consider:


            The boy thought about his imaginary friends, Concrete and Jonah. Concrete was almost as tall as a house
            and was, he had to admit, a little bit ugly. But he was nice. He would pick up Jonah in his red fleshy hand
            and talk to him in a hush, so as not to blow him overboard like a feather, though, really, Jonah was so
            small that it hardly hurt at all when he fell from the tree they lived in or had to slide down from Concrete's
            shoulder in a hurry.



That's subtler than scary old Mr. Sykes, but it blends adult objective narration with child point of view, child language:
            he thought about   vs.  Concrete and Jonah  or,   he had to admit   vs.  tall as a house, little bit ugly, nice
and so on.  Here's the actual passage I had in mind, from a story I wrote about a boy hiding from his parents in his
favorite tree:
                It had been his tree since he could first climb. His imaginary friends, Concrete
                and Jonah, had lived in it until he'd more or less outgrown them, or at least stopped
                playing with them, or they with him. Concrete had been an ugly but nice giant, taller
                than the tree itself sometimes, with a head something like a turkey's--he was so tall
                you couldn't quite make it out, but there was the red grainy skin and especially the
                flaccid wattle. And Jonah, who did the talking, was about the size of Tom Thumb
                and wore the same kind of dungarees as Johnny Eddleston.
                                                                                                        "Lorelei," in Shenandoah, Summer 1991

    You can hear it, sometimes, in the 'voice.' Sometimes the words and language and tone are perfectly congruent
with that of a nine or ten year old boy; other times, it's an author talking (flaccid wattle, outgrown them, something like,
make it out).

                                                            EXERCISE, on IFS

    So, do a childhood scene of your own, using this IFS device. Think of a place you used to like to escape to as a child, whether a tree house or spot on a shore, or under a piano, or your own closet...whatever...and put your child, in third person now, not first, put him or her in that place, doing something, hiding from something maybe (parents arguing? Bath time? Bedtime?), or just thinking about something. In my story above, it's not long before the boy is wondering how he used to talk to Concrete and Jonah...was it by mental telepathy or did he supply them with spoken words? In the two years since he last played with them, he's forgotten how they used to talk. He is, alas, growing up.

    Write about a page fooling with this shifting point of view technique. It's best if your child has some kind of conflict, but not too big; I don't think you want him hiding from a whipping. Try for subtler. Girl at her mother's make-up station, boy in his father's closet, looking for something, vaguely troubled by the big empty shoes. Girl in her brother's tree house, hoping he doesn't find her there.
    Once you get this, even just one time, it curiously becomes part of your arsenal and you'll see your writing sophisticate just because of it. This goes with my, to me, fascinating discovery, that you can raise sophistication by teaching from the technique side of things, or from the performance side: the technical versus the intuitive (where the subtlety of your idea or content drives you to create a correspondingly subtle form). Or, you can be given the form, like this IFS device, and watch your story's import turn down slooping Chekovian lanes, rather than the crooked prickly ones of Poe's brash madmen and dark hallways of scary old houses of Usher.

                                                                        The End

But, for what it's worth, here's three paragraphs from just past the middle of the story of mine that I mentioned above, 'Lorelei,' published in Shenandoah, Summer of 1991. I think this is my favorite story. It's the one I want to lead off my collection with, Siren Songs (published 2000).

Extra credit:  If you're in a hurry or don't think this point of view device is for you, then skip this next. But if you want to see indirect free style ranging freely through three paragraphs, zooming in and out of a 9 year old boy's consciousness while keeping him in 3rd person the whole time, then read on:

Background: this little boy has fallen in love with a mannequin, which his parents discovered floating out in the bay and then hauled it home in their sailboat. They've named it Lorelei and they joke around with it, dress it up at their parties, put a drink in its hand, put an icepack on its forehead the next morning. The boy has come to think of it as a kind of older sister, one that's naked a lot of the time. He plays with it too. He's been caught playing with it and things are sort of under review, about what to do with it. He senses this, and is acting out. He has climbed his favorite tree, that hangs out over the canal by his parents' house, and he's climbed so far up in it that no one can see him. He spends all day there, hiding (but from what). His parents look for him, call, go away, come back, call again, go away, and eventually some police boats arrive and start dragging the canal. Only then does he realize that they are looking for him, that they think he has drowned. And Lorelei's down there at the base of his tree, where she's been exiled since last seen playing doctor with him, or as good as:

                        She sat on the couch with him and put her own hand on him where

he put his on her, on her chest and insufficient ears and shiny cranium,

smooth yet dented, like a ladle. He touched her eyes. They touched their

fannies together. The fell asleep on the couch, and he fairly threw her across

the desk into a heap on the chair when he heard his parents? car pull into the garage.

            But these next paragraphs are among my favorite in the story for their insight, rather than their language.  It's the moment in a child's life where he/she finds himself saying good-bye to imaginary childhood friends. He's gotten too old for them: Lorelei has seduced him into sexuality, which he's not old enough for either; so he's caught, too old for Concrete and Jonah, too young for Lorelei.

            So, these three paragraphs of in-and-out of IFS come just before the father hauls away the mannequin, because he doesn't want it there against the tree when the police boats and barge arrive, to drag the bottom of the canal for the kid. So, David is high up in his tree, too high to see it's a thick, leafy, rubber tree, the kind with the sucker roots hanging down like stalactites. Called a Banyan tree, or a Ficus tree. Popular name: Rubber Tree.            So, we are about two fifths the way through the story:

 

                                                  From:   LORELEI

                                                               Miami, 1950

          There was plenty to pass the time with, the changing light,

and different noises: how the different waves of breezes wheedled

through to rustle the dark leaves differently; the bees were never

content with their hold on a leaf or stem that he'd snapped

to let them nibble at the milky sap. Fidgety bees, tumbling like

clowns, with their striped pants half way down their behinds.

          Concrete? he asked. Jonah? Does Concrete still live here?

          Though the branches became too thin for him to climb

much higher, it seemed, in his leaf cocoon, that the tree was vast,

with whole other hemispheres branching out, full tangled unexplored

jungles of dangling, snaking sucker roots that he had yet to brush aside,

and somewhere in them sat Concrete, smoking his pipe, waiting for

Jonah to return on his dragonfly or something.

          He tried hard to remember, when he used to talk with Concrete

and Jonah, if he had talked out loud. And did they? How did it work

when he'd been little? It wouldn't work now, he knew, not with Lorelei

down there.

           

Discussion: It may seem a little jumpy excerpted like this: phrases like hemispheres branching out up against tumbling like clowns, pants half-way down their behinds. But when you come upon it in the flow of the story, you don't notice those shiftings of gears, between 3rd person adult narrator voice (hemispheres, cocoon, unexplored, wheedled) and a 1st person sound-alike voice of a little boy (dragonfly or something, when he'd been little, fidgety bees, like clowns, striped pants half way down their behinds, nibble). You don't notice the gear shifting, or the zooming of the lens, but if you ask someone who's just read a story like this, what point of view it's in, they're often hard-pressed to tell you: 3rd or 1st. Because, in effect, it's been both, without ever violating the point of view. It's a neat, neat trick. Some big writers don't know how to use it. Stephen King, I think, in the last thing I read of his (Stand, Bag of Bones) fumbles it. On the other hand, I can show it to you in Homer.

            So, go back to your writing desk and sin likewise. Here's the EXERCISE again, up above.

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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2006, 05:53:26 PM »

What I was coming to this thread to discuss was the 'omnipresent' POV - I've never seen a distinction made between omniscient POV and omnipresent POV.  Has anybody else here?  If so, can you post a link to the article or quote a source, please.  I can't find anything much about it by Googling.

It's bullshit, really, isn't it?  Why do we feel the need to categorise things and look for precedents to validate what we do to write a story?  It's all good, if you ask me.  A writing technique either works or it doesn't.

Personally, I like the idea of having a narrator who can see everything that's going on, but is still objective - not head hopping and taking thoughts from several heads, not omniscient.  This gives you the freedom to narrate close to the protagonists and yet still go places they can't go and see things they don't know about.  Very handy for horror writing in particular.  The only drawback I can think of is that people who read this genre are used to being fed with characters' thoughts and feelings, so they might find it a bit cold, in the same way as Hemingway's perceived by a lot of people.

Anybody got any thoughts about this? smiley
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2006, 09:32:28 PM »

I honestly don't see anything to separate it from ordinary objective voice, from how you're describing it.  In any objective story, the author could put the camera anywhere he wanted.  Having it jump around without some sort of guidance to the reader might result in confused readers.

And am I the only one to notice that in that piece you copied and pasted the first example of "objective POV" isn't?
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2006, 04:43:13 AM »

Quote
Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and
        found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped
        Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way
        through the crowd. The people separated good-humoredly to let her
        through: two or three people said, in voices just loud enough to
        be heard across the crowd, "Here comes your Missus, Hutchinson," and
        "Bill, she made it after all."

Where do you think it falls down, Prabe - at the bit where she taps Mrs. Delacroix on the arm 'as a farewell'?  Sometimes it's difficult to make the call, and this passage is close to the line.  TBH, I think everything mentioned in the passage could be deduced by an observer, so I don't think it breaks the rules, but it's open to interpretation.

It's a piss poor collection of sentences, if you ask me - three repeats of 'the crowd' in such a short passage.  Plus 'began to make' instead of 'made'.  Maybe it's better in context scratch

Re the objective POV: yeah, I think you're right and they're one and the same.  The reason I ask is that I've been reading an excerpt elsewhere where the author describes the POV he's used as 'omnipresent', but to me it read as omniscient because the character 'sees' a fork in the road ahead, and then another chracter 'tries' to see 'the small screen' of the device the other is holding, and then at the end, when the two men are inside the vehicle some mud falls off the door outside to reveal some lettering.  It's only a short excerpt, so it's difficult to tell if the POV is constant and these are slips, or whether it's all a bit of a muddle. 
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2006, 08:01:05 AM »

The example falls down when the author tells us why the woman is craning her neck.  Ther's no possible way to tell us that at that point without going into her head.

As to omnipresent vs. omniscient, I suspect it's that the POV can go anywhere, but doesn't necessarily know everything.  At least that's how I'd interpret it based on what you've said.
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pleading and needing and breeding and bleeding and feedling exceeding
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trying and lying defying denying crying and dying
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2006, 08:02:21 PM »

 scratch  My brain hurts grin

I dunno - I think that's another of those things that an observer could arrive at through intuition.  If you're watching somebody craning their neck in a crowd, the chances are they're craning to see something.  But, yeah, it could go either way.  It's a bit of a grey area.

Back to the omnipresent thing - I've yet to find an article defining it as a valid point of view, so I think it must be a POV slip.  If you're using 3rd person objective (fly on the wall), surely you've got to stay out of all the characters' heads and report only what a camera might see and hear.  As soon as you latch onto a character and tell us what he sees and why he's doing things, like shielding electrical equipment from the rain, I think you're on shaky ground.  Could be wrong, though.
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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