lullenny: (eats)
[personal profile] lullenny
The following is an excerpt from Part III of the book Making Shapely Fiction, by Jerome Stern. The first two parts are very much worth reading as well. The book is available in paperback.

Stream of Consciousness

Stream of consciousness is the deepest immersion into the mind of a character. Stream-of-consciousness writing simulates the images, memories, sensations, and thoughts that flow through the brain before the rational mind sorts them out, represses what it can't deal with, discards what it thinks irrelevant, and turns everything into what's called logical thinking. The art in writing stream-of-consciousness prose lies in presenting that unmediated flow, that seeming chaos, so that it still makes sense to readers. Among the thought fragments, childhood images, bits of dreams, and present sensations, you need to insert enough information so that readers feel not baffled, but magically inside another person's mind and body.

To create this jumble of simultaneous brain activity, break up conventional syntax -- use sentence fragments, single images, and individual words. Intermingle thoughts and impulses -- immediate and distant, subconscious and conscious, past and present.
Bullying is what she might like. Pick on her. Pick on. The schoolyard. You're a little fat. Here and there. Dimple knees. Get off me. Let me go. You're all so stupid. I'll show you. I'll show her. Don't tell me you don't know what zabaglione is. I don't believe it. What about panzanelle? I thought you'd been to Italy. Past, pasta. Past, basta. This whole thing isn't worth it.
Stream-of-consciousness writing gives readers the most intimate possible knowledge of the character, the deepest, most vulnerable, most private self. Stream of consciousness presents problems too, for it lends itself to retrospection and dramatic stasis. The mind swims backward and readers want to go forward.

The most interesting example of a work drowning in the deep stream of consciousness is Marguerite Young's great, ambitious, unread novel, Miss MacIntosh, My Darling. Probably the most memorable, successful use of stream of consciousness is the famous Molly Bloom section of James Joyces's Ulysses.

See Documents / Diaries / Letters, Interior Monologue.

Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.


lullenny: (Default)

October 2013

67 89101112

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 03:27 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios