Stream of Consciousness



Sounds nice for an author to use this in their novel. You let loose with a long narrative about this, that, and the other thing, introducing the reader to your world. You have to make sure they understand how you built this world, so you take the high road and go for the omnipotent opening, where you, the author, are directing their attention to this “Very Important Book.”

Great way to go. Right?

Wrong…

Stream of consciousness is only good if it’s your characters being portrayed. Lose the omnipotent viewpoint. This is a pretentious way for the author to say, “The reader is too stupid to understand what I’m trying to portray, so I’m going to tell them about it.” That is a very fast way to lose readers.

Again, action speaks louder than words. In this case, the actions of your well-developed characters will give the reader more information about the story than your attempt to lead them to the point where the story actually begins.

This is all part of planning your book. You have to avoid the temptation to lead the reader through the story and allow the action to do that. If you can’t resist the urge to use omnipotent stream of consciousness, keep that in another file so that you can refer to it when you get stuck. Just don’t copy and paste it into your story. Instead, use it as background, a way to spice things up when the story lags.

And the story will lag at points. It has happened to all of us. The way to fix that is to drop back and punt. Figure out a way to spice up the action, draw the reader further into the story by letting the characters take over and present to the world their tale!


Comments

Jack Strandburg said…
Absolutely K.C. Show v. Tell!