How to Write Consonance
- Pick a good consonant. While consonance can apply to any consonant sound, it works best with “percussive” sounds like K, T, B, P, Ch, etc, or with “flowing” sounds like S, F, L, etc. Probably, use sounds that reinforce the meaning of the lines.
- Use a thesaurus. The thesaurus is a valuable tool for any writer. It can be especially great for coming up with consonance: just look up a word related to what you want to say, and see if there are any synonyms that have similar sounds in them. By using the thesaurus with each word, you can build up a line with lots of repeated sounds. Be careful, though! Only use a synonym if you really know what it means and all its connotations-–otherwise you can send the wrong message by mistake!
- Don’t force it. Consonance is fun, but it’s not as important as using the right words. Don’t change your meaning too much just to cram in consonance; otherwise the writing will seem forced and may come across as silly. The opening line of this article, for example, is clearly pretty forced; it works in this case because it’s purpose is to call your attention to consonance, but this sort of thing is usually best to avoid in serious writing. Sometimes less is more; a little bit of consonance may be more effective than a lot.
When to Use Consonance
Consonance is mainly used in poetry, but can also be effective in fiction. The trick is to keep it subtle enough that it doesn’t distract the reader from the meaning of the writing. You don’t (usually, probably) want your reader to say, ‘hey, that’s consonance!’
In some genres, consonance will work best when it’s very subtle—un-noticeable. In other genres, it can work even when it’s very obvious: