Of Characters and Their Thoughts

I’m taking a break from the book reviews today (I’ve posted ten so far) mostly because I don’t have anything written yet.  I’m going to type of five more later, but right now I’m lazy.  Plus, I need to read more books so I can review more books!!

But, I’ve been thinking about characters lately.  Characters and their thoughts.  Whenever we read novels it’s mostly from at least one character’s perspective.  Essentially we get their thoughts.  Yes, sometimes (a lot of the time) the point of view isn’t reliable because it’s a biased opinion.

However, I was contemplating specifically about their thoughts and their abundance.  Personally, I don’t have as many thoughts as I read these characters having.  That makes me sound like a ditz and I’m not.  But, for the most part my mind is blank or if I DO have thoughts, they’re unrelated to the topic at hand.  (This would be more of a Stream-of-Consciousness writing style.)

When my mother is talking to me about laundry, I’m thinking about writing.

When I’m writing, I’m thinking about reading.

When I’m reading, I’m thinking about food.

When I’m eating, I’m thinking about how bored I am and I need to get out of the house.

When I’m outside, I have randomly associated thoughts with squirrels.  For example, when I was on campus and I saw a squirrel munching on a Snickers wrapper.

In Junior High, my school was pretty small (one call per grade) and they decided to start up a mini-newspaper.  It was about two people from each grade.  One of the first meetings we had, the moderator placed a cowgirl doll on the table and told us to write whatever came to mind.  He said it didn’t matter if it was unrelated or if we thought it was stupid.  He just wanted us to write whatever came to mind when we saw the doll.

My story *cough* was stupid.  I’ll just tell you that now.  I don’t remember most of it, but there was one line that had everyone laughing because it was so random: “bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny”.

For some reason, staring at the doll, I didn’t realize she was a cowgirl.  Then, when one of the other students said she was cowgirl, I didn’t think cowboy/cowgirl/horses/Texas.  No, I was thinking cowgirl.  Girl who takes care of cows.  I took it literally.  You might really think I’m a ditz now, but my assumption was based off of her clothing.  She was dressed like a “normal” cowgirl.  She was tailored more towards a little girl playing on her father’s farm on a Caribbean island tending to the cows- cowgirl.  She had a long burnt-orange dress, tan, sheepskin boots, a large straw hat, and her stringy black hair hung in two braids on either side of her head.  (She was stranger looking doll.)

But, the point is, we all saw the same thing and or interpretations were different because we had different understandings and focus levels.  Some people were more focus than *cough* others and wrote amazing stories about a little girl running down to the creek to save a cow that fell in the water.  My, “bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny” had nothing to do with the little girl, those were just my thoughts at the time.

I know the stream-of-conscience novels I have read, I had difficulty understanding.  I wasn’t able to gather the main point because everything jumped around like my thoughts would.

Yet, in novels (I’m talking about mainstream fiction/historical romances) the characters have focused, coherent thoughts.  What do you think?  Do the characters that we love oh so much truly reflect us?  Are your thoughts as centralized as theirs seem to be or are you like me and have scattered thoughts?  Does it matter?  Which would you prefer?


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