Stream of Consciousness
This is a form of narration I have come to deeply appreciate. You can tell a story in first person or third person. Third person gives you a little more freedom in terms of getting into the minds of several different characters. First person, on the other hand, limits you to one character’s mind. That’s where stream of consciousness comes in handy. This allows the reader to enter the minds of several characters, seeing the events of the story unfold through various points of view. I was first introduced to this technique in high school, when I read William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. At first, I wondered if I would be able to keep track of the different characters, but after the first two or three chapters, I didn’t even think about it. I found myself just reading the book (the same thing happens to me when I watch a movie with subtitles: after a while, I just watch the movie and ignore the captions. But, I digress…).
Stream of Consciousness is also present in Keith Donohue’s The Stolen Child (a very good read, by the way. I highly recommend it). The story of what seems to be a single life, is told through two characters. That’s all I’m going to say; I won’t spoil it for you.
At times, SOC can be slightly confusing, if you’re not paying close attention. If there are too many characters speaking, there may be too many points of view for the reader to keep up with. Also, if other narrators are introduced much later in the story. Your reader may find himself or herself thinking, “Okay, who’s this guy? There’s the parents, the two kids, the teacher at school, the daughter’s best friend, the neighbor, the neighbor’s wife, and now three quarters into the story there’s another character speaking?” In Our Lady of Righteous Rage, I introduced everyone early on, and didn’t add any additional narrators. It makes the story less confusing for the reader, and for me, the writer.
If you’re working on a first person narrative with more than one character, you may want to give SOC a try.