I call this insight the Character Reality Paradox (until I can think of a better name for it or someone tells me what it really is). It goes like this:
In reality most of us for most of the time are ghosts in bodies—we’re physically present but our minds flitter everywhere—to the past, future, to fantasies; we’re embroiled in emotions that may have little to do with the present situation.
Yet in fiction, character POV is often so distilled, so logical; they’re following a script; the author is maintaining tight control. Of course there is reason for this—the story should have some coherence, yet it seems to me there is opportunity here to really explore character stream of consciousness. Often this does arise in fiction as character memories—an effective device to squeeze in backstory or discover more about the character. But the random stream of consciousness, is, I think, territory far less travelled.
Perhaps in exploring character stream of consciousness and its apparent disconnect from the present, we might explore characters that are no so much less rounded, as less confined and therefore they might closer mirror our own lives, where the concept of “I” is something of a misnomer.
Am I right? And what should I really call the Character Reality Paradox?