Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And Then They Kissed

That's right-I wrote the kissing scene a couple of days ago.

Yes, there will be more, but this was the kiss because it was the first kiss.

And it made me realize that kissing scenes aren't my forte...yet.

So to improve, I told my husband we needed to kiss so I could describe it in my book. However, he wasn't very excited about submitting his kissing-self to research, and I guess it would not be very romantic if I stopped mid-kiss to take notes.

Instead I went through my collection of young adult books, and reread the kissing scenes. Here it is-The Anatomy of a Kiss. (a PG kiss)

1) It starts with a look - a dazzling gaze or a soft longing in the eyes.

2) Then contact. Hair is brushed away, jawlines are traced, chins are lifted.

3) The space is closed between them - hands behind waist, arms around neck. They lean in.

4) And then...and then....they kiss. Lips brush against each other. The kisses are soft and sweet.

5) Physiologic response-breaths are held, hearts skip beats.

6) Metaphors maybe? A cat and a bird made it into a couple of kissing scenes I read.

7) The aftermath. They pull away. Maybe they kiss again. (Oh, 0r maybe she slaps him.)

It has to be good. A lot of YA fiction readers are teenage girls. This is the part of the book they wait for with baited breath and maybe read again if it's good.

What elements do you include in the kissing scene?


  1. I think the conversation leading up to the kiss can be very important in establishing the tension. Also, I'm a fan of the surprise kiss and the almost kiss.

  2. Just like with writing action scenes, it's not so much the actual kiss as it is the emotions behind that kiss.

    I've written way more kisses that I should admit, and all of them have been different because the characters reacted in different ways.

    So it's not the lips meeting, per se, but more the nerves or excitement or shock that gets the reader's heart thumping.

  3. Lead up for sure. That tension can make the whole book.
    And in my fiction I like the hot, passionate kisses. Sweet kisses are cute but they won't stick around my memory or tug at my gut.

  4. Candice-Mine is a little bit of a surprise kiss, although that is subject to change.

    Renee-Shocking! Ooh, and I agree with you...the fight that leads to kiss scene. Those are the best.

    Natalie-Great advice. I'll have to weave more emotions into my scene.

    Megan-Who doesn't like those hot, passionate kisses?

  5. I LOVE THIS POST! I always skip to the kissing scene. I just can't wait to write it! I don't know if I've got it down but I really try to concentrate on the senses. Taste, Smell, Touch, Hearing. Just everything internalized. What is the MC thinking?

    And that's hilarious that you use your husband for research! And the taking notes mid-kiss scenario? Classic!

  6. I love writing kissing scenes. I often skip ahead, write the first kiss and then build up to it later.

    I think the good first kiss scene is actually done in the build up to the moment. The almost kisses that happen in the days before. The hesitation, the longing before it all happens. That's what makes a first kiss memorable. So the anticipation of the kiss is just as important if not more so, than the actual kiss. That means several chapters where the main character thinks about it (briefly, not long ponderings).

    Those are my thoughts on kissing. Great Post!

  7. Shelley-Yea! I made it into the club?! The best Dickens' kisses are in the film adaptations of his books. I guess all that chin-lifting and waist-grabbing was not proper then.

    Lisa-Hi! You bring up a good point-the senses. Something I noticed as I perused book kisses, but forgot to mention. The kissing scenes that mentioned a smell or a taste stood out over the rest, which I liked as long as the boy's lips didn't taste like something yummy. Kind of wierd for me. I just want him to taste like boy.

    Mim-That seems to be a theme among my comments: the almost kisses, the tension...I love your advice about the longing and hesitation. I am excited to go back and rework it.

  8. I agree with Natalie. A lot has to do with the feelings leading up to the kiss, during the kiss, and after. In my new WIP the first kiss of two characters a little awkward. They're not the main romantic couple though so it's okay

  9. Kissing scenes are tough. I had to edit mine quite a few times til it felt right. I love your hubby story though. I'm single, so maybe I can approach cute strangers and say "I'm a writer and doing research for a kissing scene." Who knows what fun it could lead to! ;)

  10. Patti-I have five chapters left in your book. Still waiting for that kiss... Or maybe you want the suspense for the kiss to carry over to book two. Or maybe you feel motherly and think, "My dear MC kiss a boy!? Over my dead body."

    Shelli-Good point. Besides, even if he is not feeling kissable, he should really be willing to sacrifice himself in the name of literature.

    Karen-That's probably the best pick-up line ever because you are really only approaching them professionally, and if you get rejected, it's not personal. Let me know how that works out.

  11. This list is practically a kissing scene in itself!

    I like the missed kisses - you know - when the opportunity is there but somehow they miss it, or get interrupted, or don't know each other wants it as bad as the other.

    Then there's tension. Will they or won't they? Will this be the time it works, or am I going to keep just hoping it happens?

    I like strong tension, and a good build up.

  12. Oooh, I just love writing kissing scenes! I always like to include the senses a lot, smell, taste, texture, that type of thing, as well as those physiological responses. :-)
    So what's up with your hubby? LOL I think mine would be the same way. *snort*
    Congrats on getting to the kiss! Wooohoo!

  13. It's so true that the emotions leading up to the kiss are the biggest part of the actual action. So much is about the connections that lead up to the kiss. One of the most romantic kisses I read lasted only a second. They were interrupted, but up until then it was incredibly sweet because the two characters really connected.

    For mine I try to get that lead up time in there. Although the first time my two main characters kiss is very different from this set up because the narrator seems to have passed out and can't move... Once they kiss for real, though, I do the whole lead up to it thing.

  14. I think your summary of the elements involved in a kiss are right on. I really shouldn't love writing kissing scenes as much as I do. But as you mentioned, they are what we young adults wait for on baited breath as we read. (I am still considered a YA, right?)