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Maybe this belongs in more of a "discussion" type section so let me know if my choice of category is incorrect...

Does anyone else here think that stream of consciousness writing is merely a cover up for lack of talent, lack of something to say, and is a product of laziness? or is stream of consciousness writing a valid, and viable addition to the already varied and eclectic writing styles that writers produce?

Personally, I enjoy writing in stream of consciousness, at the end of a session the feeling of accomplishment is quite rewarding. However, I can't help but feel that my stream of consciousness writing is just a bunch of worthless drivel. Yes it is raw emotion splattered onto a page, which at times can be a very powerful thing, but I think there should be some form to it so that otheres can understand what you are/were feeling at the time you wrote it. Let me know what you all think.

"When Flaco isn't happy, he only pays in lead."
- Anonymous


The following comments are for "Stream of Consciousness"
by CopyMaster

Sure 'nuff, that's the thick and the thin of it...pretty senseless when you think about it...

( Posted by: CopyMaster [Member] On: August 24, 2003 )

Objection, yer honours
Stream writing has always been a bit of a controversial issue with my writing mates and myself in Halifax (West Yorkshire - not Nova Scotia). Some like it, some don't - I will use it now and again, esp. if my brain refuses to work and inspiration is non-existent.

( Posted by: ogg [Member] On: August 30, 2003 )

Streams etc.
Will any great novel be written "stream of consciousness" style? No, not likely. But to write it off entirely is far from sensible.

Stream of consciousness serves to subvert the ego and the internal critic thus allowing for freer connections between ideas and sensations. There have been some great stream of consciousness pieces (The one that comes immediately to mind is American Woman) and those success alone should serve to validate the technique.

William S. Burroughs, Jim Morrison, Samuel Coleridge and many others practised this form with no small success.

Remember, anytime you improvise you are doing stream of consciousness. And hasn't improv been an accepted form of artistic expression - it's value beyond question - for many more years than any of us have been alive?

So, Copymaster, in shorthand answer to your question, no, it isn't JUST drivel - though it often can be.

As to others making sense of it, one derives meaning from this form not by dissection of lines and vivisection of images etc but rather from the over all sense that one FEELS when reading it - like surrealist art. Try and explain why Dali's "Geopolitical Child..." is as affecting as it is - you can't but it is.

( Posted by: enforced bliss [Member] On: August 30, 2003 )

will any.....
EB wrote:
>Will any great novel be written "stream
>of consciousness" style? No, not likely

Hmm.. forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure there are several big name writers in this style? Jean-Paul Satre's novel "Nausia" springs to mind almost immediately.

Personally it's not really my thing, but I'm quite certain it can be done, and done well, and as with all forms of art, the very best will move even those who don't usually appreciate that form.

( Posted by: Spudley [Member] On: August 30, 2003 )

Oh no, it finally happened
I stand corrected Spudley - oh no wrong twice in the same year EGADS!!! ;)

( Posted by: Enforced Bliss [Member] On: August 30, 2003 )

Stream of conciousness"
your discussion is interesting because I have been always taught by both my high school teacher n dmy college professor that "stream of conciousness" writing is when the narrator of a story zooms in on what a particular character is thinking, Events unfold as they come to the characters mind. The stream may be based on a sequence, or simply based on the characters "concept of relevance", and is a good tool for displaying the emotions of the character as the events unfold. I think that if you can write in this style effectively and keep it simple much like you would do adding dialogue to a narrative, then it is a great style of writing!

( Posted by: [Member] On: October 31, 2003 )

"Stream of conciousness"

( Posted by: [Member] On: October 31, 2003 )

Yes, it's valid. But like any other kind of writing it takes time to develope. Just because it seems to pour out on its own doesn't make it good. The more you do it the better you get and the more communicative you get. You have to work at it.

I haven't read James Joyce's Ulysses, but I've read critic refer to it as stream of consciousness.

There's also another term called "automatic writing" that was practiced by Dadaists and Surrealists. The process has been described thusly: "take a blank piece of paper and write a series of L's and keep doing it over and over until your subconscious takes over and you start writing words." Before you start this process you are supposed to make your mind as blank as possible.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: October 31, 2003 )

Another renowned and very famous "stream of consciousness" writer is William Faulkner. I've only read one of his books (As I Lay Dying), and it's definitely stream of consciousness. But Faulkner doesn't just put random words and ideas onto the page; they fit together and make sense. This style of writing can obviously be misused, some people probably *do* just write whatever comes to their mind and call it good. But Faulkner definitely did NOT. He uses stream of consciousness writing to create another layer of meaning and aesthetic beauty to his work. Hope that helps!

( Posted by: bluesnowflake34 [Member] On: September 15, 2004 )

Look folks, I truly don't have the formal education to write poetry, but I'd say that at least 90% of what I write is streaming.(shortened from stream of conciousness) Most of it is raw, and unedited. Most learned people can see that though. Some people tell me my stuff is good, others say not so good. I have dry spells(writers block?) like anyone else, but when thoughts come to me they literally come on rivers of streams.So much so that I can't write every coherant thought fast enough.I do form poetry when it dries up, and enjoy that too. I can tell you that there is nothing like the rush I get when it comes on.(no, I've never done drugs in my life.) Read Charles Olson. (olsen?) He is the guy that explores this theory in detail. I hope this helps.


( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: September 15, 2004 )

Thank you, not only for the thought provoking statement(?)to start this, but for the excellant read of thoughts from these people who bother to think deeply.
I write. My stream is good for me, but, generally needs cleaning up for other's consumption. An art form, no doubt, even amongst thinkers and writers and dreamers.. (applause to you..)

( Posted by: emaks [Member] On: September 15, 2004 )

emaks, isn't it cool though? Even if you have to clean it up sometimes, the ride is unlike anything you've ever experienced,huh?

( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: September 16, 2004 )

An Audience..
I think this really dpends on whether you have wrtiten the piece for yourself or for an audience. I have written poetry I would not dream of posting on here, it is far too personal, or should I say, part of my 'private' life.

Stream of Consciousness can be very refreshing to read if you can tell that it has not been edited. I think the danger comes when you try and fit it in a specific 'form' of poetry, it should read as you either spoke it or thought it perhaps.

If you feel you have achieved something, small or large, I think that is the most important point.

Alex :-)

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: September 16, 2004 )

Sometimes I write form streaming, Alex. I know it sounds outlandish. My wife has seen me do it a few times. I told you I was ignorant yesterday, and I meant that. Sometimes I say the most ignorant things and think the most ignorant thoughts.(it should be apparent) I can't help myself, although I'm better than I used to be. lol. I think to be an excelling writer, one Must put himself out there without regard for consequences of another persons thought. If you don't do that, how can "thought" ever break the dam for the river to flow? Or flood? Do you desire drought? Not me. I hope I'm never educated if that means I have to dam myself. I've waited 46 years to "say". There is no pleasure in stopping. Achievement is secondary to everything else.

( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: September 16, 2004 )

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