Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Do YOU Kiss?

I’ve written and read my fair share of kissing scenes.  My favorites are by far the ones with the most build up- the sexual tension, the witty banter, the ‘lean in’ and ‘eyes fluttering over features’ and ‘gaze locking on lips’ and ‘air growing warm’ etc... but what about the actual kiss itself?

There’s always the simple ‘they kiss’/ ‘he kisses’ / ‘she kisses’ period- skipping the details of everything that comes between the initial lip lock and release.  And a lot of people might prefer this- feeling the description of what happens during a kiss is unnecessary or that it might take away from the action.

And while I certainly don’t want to know about every string of saliva connecting our two main characters, I do admit I prefer a few details. 

After all, so much can be said with a kiss.

Is it slow and tender?  Or hard and impulsive?  Is there any spark or is it cold and distant—like the characters are shaking hands with their mouths?  I think a kiss can not only add to the action, but give us a glimpse into the true dynamic between two people in the story. 

So tell me, how do you go about kissing? (um, in your writing I mean)

39 comments:

Gina said...

I'm with you- I love a buildup. The tension in the way they look at each other, the heat from the closeness of their bodies. There's no fun in saying "they kissed." The way I see it, a person who's never been kissed before should know exactly what it feels like after they've read a kissing scene!

Angela Felsted said...

I think it depends on where you are in the story. If they've already had that magical first kiss, sometimes a simple "they kissed" is better.

But if you're trying to capture the wonder of that first encounter, slow and with details is better for me.

Kelly said...

I haven't written a kiss scene yet!
But kissing scenes are fun to read in other books!

Anne Gallagher said...

I always have at least 3 kisses in my books.
1) sweet and tender
2) long and passionate
3) hard and angry

Not necessarily in that order. I figure I don't write sex so I have to make up for it somehow.

Nicole L Rivera said...

I try an picture the kiss with the five senses leading up to actual lip-on-lip action, but I'm always unsure of my kissing scenes...

Old Kitty said...

Er.. with lots of tongue?!?! LOL!!!

I try not using the word kiss - and see the mess I create! :-)Take care
x

Sarah said...

I usually say something using the word kiss and then go into some detail. Not always, but I agree, "they kissed" gets boring.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I like the slow build up and near misses. And I love descriptions. I want to feel the kiss. Knowing the characters are kissing just isn't enough.

Matthew MacNish said...

"Shaking hands with their mouths."

Brilliant.

I recently added a more intense kiss to my WIP. There was one before, but this one is better.

Cynthia Lee said...

I don't go into great detail about kisses for some reason. I like to deny the kiss for a really long time and then bust it out at the end.

Caitlin said...

With you on the build up! I don't go into too much detail, like tongue depth or anything like that, but sometimes the scene calls for a little more than "they kissed".

Charcoal Renderings said...

I always find it more effective in reading and in writing to see what's going on during the kiss--and not just with the lips, either. Even if you don't want to put a lot of detail into the "his bottom lip grazed her front tooth" kind of thing, I think adding a detail about what's happening to the rest of the body paints a better picture of chemistry. Like the hand that grips the small of the back, the awkward shuffle of feet, et cetera. Those are the real life details that can make or break the physical feeling of an embrace, so I love using it in writing to paint a clearer picture the reader can hopefully feel.

April said...

Well, honestly, I think I've put a few kisses here and there, but not many.

I have a hard time with love scenes. Both reading them and writing them. It depends. If it's a crime novel, and they throw in a sex scene, it annoys me. I just want to move on to the action. Especially since the sex or kiss comes closer to the end...if it hasn't been one of my favorite books, I'm anxious to just finish it. So I skim the kiss.

With romance novels or women's fiction...those I prefer to be a bit more drawn out. I think the kisses in these types of novels are necessary, and I like to feel it and imagine it and get all...um...excited so that I have to go find my hubby and get him alone... ;-)

Aubrie said...

I just wrote a kissing scene today! The kiss I wrote about was soft and tender. I love to include little details like that. :)

Jessica Bell said...

LOL. I give all the gory details. In real life too :o)

Kathryn said...

I'm having a hard time even typing what I want to say! What would my MOTHER think? ;)

Jolene Perry said...

My favorites are the almost kissing. The pre-kiss tension and then the after kiss release, or confusion. SO SO fun :D

Anonymous said...

Whether the scene has build-up to the kiss or not, description is key. Just saying, "and then they kissed," does nothing for the reader or the author. The is a reason the author put it there, so he/she needs to let the reader know how it was.

Beverly Diehl said...

For arousal, I like the slow build up of tension, or bringing them so close and then one of the parties pulls away at the last minute.

One thing I also have fun with sometimes is writing a BAD kissing scene. Like, the MC goes out with someone who looks good on paper but puckers up for the granny kiss or gives a full-on Saint Bernard.

Writing in Flow

Hart Johnson said...

I don't write romance, which I think means I can get away with less description on the matter. I tend to focus on the emotion of it... first kisses are either surprises, or preceded with a lot of anticipation... I can't be nice, so I like it if they are sometimes awkward... not what was expected. i really like kissing, but I REALLY don't see it as the be all an end all (probably why I don't write romance)--it is usually just a complicating factor in some other story.

Christina Lee said...

Awesome psot! Oh yes, I need to drag out the tension and describe evey detail!!! HA!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Oh, nice post! I like the build-up, then tension. I almost like it better than the kiss itself. The will-they, won't-they is what I like best. I think that's some of the reason why my romances are all on the sweeter side. :)

Dafeenah said...

Hmmm I haven't yet written a kissing scene and honestly I am not quite sure how to go about it. It is sort of out of my comfort zone which is bizarre considering the things I do write about. I think I am going to have to force myself to try this now just to see what happens.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I have a TERRIBLE time writing kissing scenes! I probably re-write kissing paragraphs more than any other in my stories. I do want to describe the kiss ... without making it sound sloppy or gross or corny or pornographic.

I'm not sure I have it down yet.

RaShelle said...

I like a little build up - not too much - but some. =D

Meredith said...

I definitely want some good, subtle details about the kiss! It makes it so much more interesting.

Theresa Milstein said...

"...like the characters are shaking hands with their mouths." Nobody wants that kiss! But I can see how that would show two people don't have chemistry.

While I like to lead up to it, I don't usually give much detail about the kiss itself.

Maria said...

Fun topic! I just wrote a kissing scene last night, (flashback, no build up, but I agree, build up is good). I think the description of the kiss needs to include any details that your POV character would be likely to notice, remember or focus on. More than that is just gravy if you're writing a romance and overkill if you're writing another genre.

Carolyn V said...

Kissing scenes always seem to take me forever to write. They have to be just right.

Huntress said...

*fans face*
Slow and sweet. Then hard and fast.

Okay. Must take cold shower now.

Liz Fichera said...

The best kisses are all in the build-up, IMO. I prefer to read (and write) the emotional intensity and less on the mechanics. Translation: Not interested in reading about saliva. ;-)

Heather Hellmann said...

I found that writing the kissing scene in my manuscript was one of the most difficult parts. It surprised me how much time it took to write such a short passage. I'm still not completely happy with it. However, it's one of my favorite parts of the story.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

LOL. Thankfully, my stories are for young enough readers that I don't have to worry about kissing! :-)

LTM said...

ahh... good one! I actually get in there and give a little description. In one MS, there's a very bad kiss, and that's supposed to be funny. Betas say it is. In my current MS going out, there's a taste of cinnamon. There some soft lips and warmth... so I get in there. But not too far. Leave something for the imagination~ :D <3

Stephanie Thornton said...

The build-up is the key, but I don't mind a few details in a kiss scene. Oftentimes I've been waiting the whole book for just that scene!

Mia Hayson said...

Mmmmm. Interstesting discussion! I think I am very much in agreement with you, the build-up is important. I tend to skimp out on the details of the actual kiss though. Teeeheee.

Rachel Morgan said...

Build up is DEFINITELY important. I try to string it out for as long as possible... Got to make the readers want it as badly as the characters ;-)

The Kid In The Front Row said...

So many women! So many different ideas for kissing scenes!

But remember, writing is better when you've had experiences in real life! So....... feel free to experiment with me! :P

Melody said...

I agree - 'they kissed' is boring...plus it adds nothing to the plot. I've started trying to add to the plot in a kiss the way you would add to a plot with any other action in the book. Use the right words (dangerous vs. tender) to set the scene the way you want it.

Actually, this post of yours inspired my entire blog post today. :)

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