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Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? Which would you rather read?

 It all depends on my mood! I like both at different times.

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf springs to mind as a good example of stream-of-consciousness writing and is a book to cogitate over and I could read it again and again. Plot driven books, in contrast, are full of action and are page-turners, making me read quickly to find out what happens next, but once read I usually feel less inclined to re-read them.

8 thoughts on “Plotting

  1. I generally prefer plot driven books, but do like stream of consciousness concepts like leaving unanswered questions to the imagination etc. For me, SoC needs strong characterisation/description to keep me interested. I’ve never read Mrs Dalloway … another I must get round to!


  2. This BTT made me think about what true stream of consciousness in a literary sense is. I enjoy character studies, but many times (to me) they aren’t stream of consciousness, but they may very well be and I just may not know it. I’ve read a little bit of Virginia Woolf (think a couple short stories) and am neither here nor there. Maybe I’ll have to check out Mrs. Dalloway…

    In any event, if anyone has read some great streams of consciousness books, I’d love to hear about them: BTT: Straight Shot or Winding Road…


  3. I have been enjoying reading everyone’s reflections on this issue… I really think that there is space for both – even in the same book(!) For example – I have just finished reading and reviewing Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier with my book group – and that is a classic with a great plot and quite a lot of stream of consciousness writing – with the endless day dreams and dream sequences. It is those passages that allow the reader to become so close to the second Mrs de Winter – which is why we care about the plot. plot without consciousness is just one damn thing after another, as the saying goes.

    Great discussion though!

    Thanks for sharing



  4. Wow, now I’m regretting my own post on the topic. I wish I had thought more about the definition of stream of consciousness. I never would have thought of Rebecca as an example, or using re-readableness (?) as a gauge. I recently re-read Rebecca, though, and it was every bit as thrilling as the first time, even though I knew the ending. Very interesting.


  5. I’m listening to To the Lighthouse these days and must confess that my ambivalence towards Virginia Woolf is not resolving itself. I’m coming to the conclusion that much as I demand good writing, I also demand good stories, and good stories do require plot. It’s not enough for me to be inside someone’s head–I need to know why I’m there.


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