I started doing stream of consciousness writing when journaling in high school. In college I began using it for essay writing as a way to get all my thoughts onto the page. I bet you can imagine where this is going. Yup. I do it A LOT in story writing.
What is stream of consciousness writing?
It’s where you write whatever comes into your head - no editing, no censor. You turn off the critical thinking part of your brain and just let the words pour onto the page. It’s a great way to get into the flow of a story.
Here’s an example: (And no judging please. This is a rough, rough draft)
Her father, as the Baron’s superior, as well as the father of the person in question WHAT? WHAT AM I SAYING HERE? was required to be present for the questioning.
I have learned to put my aside comments in all caps. I know that means my critical brain has to be a little alert, but after nearly turning in a college paper with swear words still in it, I allow that small amount of critical thinking. (Yes, I am quite literal when I say I write down whatever is in my head.)
Here’re another example:
Flexis, the high king’s youngest, looked dashing in his earthen brown britches and emerald green shirt, tailored surcoat- SOMETHING WARDROBE AND FANCY. UGH.
The asides don’t have to make sense. They’re just whatever is in your head. Remember, no censor. This is the very first version of your story, and it can be whatever it needs to be to get the story out.
If you’re not used to this method of writing, I recommend starting with doing it while journaling. There’s less pressure in that style of private writing, and it can make it easier to close off the critical brain.
The idea is to let all the words flow out rather than stop, ponder, count out a timeline, or bang my head against the wall trying to find the right words.
Zero drafts are all about getting the words on the page. Once the story is written, then I can go back and find the right words, better the description, define timelines, and address all those other areas with all caps commentary. The important thing is, the story will be written.