Dissonance and Consonance in Writing

Something everyone (especially me, Queen of Drama) needs to remember while writing a book. 🙂

The Music of Words

Dissonance and consonance are terms used in music. Dissonance means “notes of unrest”–two notes that rub up against each other and cause tension. Consonance means “notes of rest”–notes that would normally “go together”.

When used correctly in a piece of music, dissonance is held to create tension, then released into a consonant chord, creating this amazing sound that could not be found in music created only with consonance. (This is an absolutely beautiful example of dissonance and consonance used together: Lux Aurumque, composed by Eric Whitacre.)

But have you ever heard a little kid pounding on a piano? It doesn’t sound like music at all–it’s made completely of dissonance. No one wants to listen to that. And in the same way, no one wants to read a story that’s made completely of conflict.

I went to a writing conference about a year ago, and there was one session I went to…

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