What is Stream of Consciousness?
by Brent Middleton
When doing creative writing, do you find yourself wanting to experiment with style? Stream of consciousness is a great way to step outside humdrum writing boundaries.
Stream of consciousness is a narrative device that describes the flow of thoughts in the minds of characters. It’s a great alternative to directly convey the thoughts of your characters, but be aware, stream of consciousness is a significantly harder writing style to perfect, characterized by random thoughts and a lack of punctuation.
A fantastic example of stream of consciousness writing can be found in Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs. Dalloway:
“What a lark! What a plunge! For so it always seemed to me when, with a little squeak of the hinges, which I can hear now, I burst open the French windows and plunged at Bourton into the open air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this of course, the air was in the early morning; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave; chill and sharp and yet (for a girl of eighteen as I then was) solemn, feeling as I did, standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to happen …”
In the passage, Mrs. Dalloway breaks away from the retelling of her story to relive it. She reflects on the air and the feeling it gave as her thoughts naturally flow between the present and memories. Though it may seem daunting at first, there are many valuable resources at your disposal to begin learning stream of consciousness writing. Here are just a few:
- net: http://literarydevices.net/stream-of-consciousness/
- Wikihow: http://www.wikihow.com/Write-Stream-Of-Consciousness
- Qwiklit: http://qwiklit.com/2014/03/22/10-writers-who-use-stream-of-consciousness-better-than-anybody-else/
Look to Creative Writing Institute for all your writing needs.