What is it?
According to Britannica Concise Encyclopedia:
Narrative technique in nondramatic fiction intended to render the flow of myriad impressions — visual, auditory, tactile, associative, and subliminal — that impinge on an individual consciousness. To represent the mind at work, a writer may incorporate snatches of thought and grammatical constructions that do not seem coherent because they are based on the free association of ideas and images. The term was first used by William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890). In the 20th century, writers attempting to capture the total flow of their characters' consciousness commonly used the techniques of interior monologue, which represents a sequence of thought and feeling. Novels in which stream of consciousness plays an important role include James Joyce's Ulysses (1922), William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury (1929), and Virginia Woolf's The Waves (1931).
Virginia Woolf, Faulkner, and Joyce? They're literary masters! Why isn't the narrative device more popular? Why don't I use it?
Um, because it's difficult to pull off. Have you ever tried to read the novels by one of those authors? "Flowing, fast read" isn't one way I would describe the reading experience. Change of thought mid-sentence. Often a lack of plot or character development.
So why are you writing like this, Clarissa?
Well, for me, I love trying new writing challenges and also, it fits the story I'm telling but is it easy? Not at all.
Have you ever tried streams of consciousness writing? Did you succeed?
"Such fools we all are, she thought, crossing Victoria Street. For Heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can't be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason: they love life. In people's eyes, in the swing, tramp, trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June."Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/stream-of-consciousness#ixzz1FpapAIOC
-Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Picture Source: here