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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stream of Consciousness

I happen to love stream of consciousness. I think it kind of gets a bad rep. People think it's choppy and a lot of what is written is pointless. I think to truly understand a character getting inside their head is important. I know when I am being a character, I think what they would. I want to know what the main character is thinking when she jumps off the cliff or kisses the bad guy. I love it. I do however think that it can be done wrong. There's a point where it becomes over the top.

What is it?
stream of consciousness
n. pl. streams of consciousness
1. A literary technique that presents the thoughts and feelings of a character as they occur.

This means that you are jumping from every experience the character is. If they are thinking about kissing a guy and then a car drives by and then they get up to see who it is to they smell bacon, it's all in there. There is a flow of thoughts that you experience. Also known as "interior monologue."

How do I do it?
You have to be able to embody your character. I find a lot of times when reading stream of consciousness characters change and their thoughts don't really match with their actions. It's almost like acting. You have to become that character. To get the stream right, you have to understand and think like the character. Knowing your character is crucial.

I think knowing your book and the plot and where it is going to go is huge. For me, I had pages and pages of outlines and back stories and character bios and setting and all of that fun junk before I even started writing. This helped me in the long run because I knew down pact what was going to happen. I knew my main character.

Sitting down to write stream of consciousness is easy. All you do is sit there, jump into your characters brain and write. You write what she's thinking, what she's doing, how she's doing, where she's going, literally everything. Obviously you will cut a lot out later but to start that's the best way. Write and write and write. It definitely helps to know the outline and where the story will go.

I say this because you still have to have a format to the book. It has to follow events and the plot needs to be carried out. I find that when writing, I hate taking a break to see where I am in the outline, or what that guys name is. It breaks my stream and concentration.

Positives and Negatives
Obviously a positive is that you are connecting and learning more about the character. You see through their eyes and understand what they think.
A negative is that you only see what they think. There may be things as a reader you want to know that the main character doesn't yet.
A negative is that is comes off as irrelevant or choppy. When you think, you don't really in full sentences or relevant topics. You think what you see or hear. Sometimes it takes away from the story, so you have to make sure to cut out the truly unimportant parts.

Let me know what you guys think!


  1. This is what separates the reading experience from film and other media, the ability to enter the mind of a character in great detail. Writers who do it well are loved by their readers.

    1. Definitely. I love getting into the mind of a character. It's what makes books great.


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