Fair warning: Not a G-rated post… then again, I seriously doubt anyone reading this is under the age of 7 so I shouldn’t upset any delicate sensibilities.
In the words of Meg Ryan from one of my all time favorite movies French Kiss… “A kiss… two peoples’ lips together, their breath, a little bit of their soul…”
I agree with Meg. “A kiss is where the romance is.”
Mmm, there is nothing quite like a first kiss, is there? And I’m not just talking about in fiction. ;) Though, I know most of us die-hard romance readers wait anxiously for the first tangle of lips on the page. But that’s the thing about fiction. It has the power to cross over that invisible plane and find a grip in reality. When the character embraces that first kiss, we can almost feel it as we live vicariously through them, reliving our own memories of budding romances and earth-shattering kisses.
Unfortunately, far too often fiction falls wayyyyy short of the real thing. I mean, come on… we’ve all got swoony romance on the brain if we are writing a love story. Many of us are living in our own happily ever after, and yet… the kiss we pen on the page is stale. Vague. Unrealistic. Utterly unremarkable.
Well, for today you can call me the kiss doctor because I may just have the remedy to rev up your smooch.
So here is where I kiss and tell: 3 Keys of KISS Perfection!
Oh, I can hardly stand it! The tension. The seductive dance of possibility in that moment of shared breath. Will he? Won’t he? Just kiss the girl! Or for heavens sake, chick, grab that man and kiss him senseless! How many of you know that the moments preceding the kiss are almost as important as the kiss itself. Bringing the reader to their breaking point with a near kiss moment can illicit a hot flash as smokin’ as the moment those sparks ignite in a meeting of lips.
How are you building your tension here? What is your character thinking? Have they envisioned what it might be like? Is that shivery touch pre-kiss a tingling anticipation of what’s to come? Play up your senses in the seconds before. Let your character slip into a moment of fantasy. Sometimes this isn’t even directly before the kiss. Often you can steadily build that slow burn from the first moment they meet on the page. Other times you want the tension to be so tight, so unexpected, so heady at that precipice, we can do nothing but hold our breath and silently beg for that first kiss.
Think about real life. Married or not, do you remember that first kiss with someone special? How many of you can attest--not all kisses are created equal. With the right someone there is more than just woven lips and shared saliva (sorry, not the prettiest picture there) but there is heat, and sweetness, and hunger (oh, yes I did! Kissing: the gateway drug) and don’t forget…. MAGIC!
Hopefully, when you are mid-kiss you aren’t thinking about your enormous pile of laundry, what you’re going to make for dinner, or what your schedule looks like tomorrow. The kiss we want to read about is the kind that transcends a time frame, it transcends rational though, and becomes a bundle of sensations. The first tentative brush of smooth soft lips. The catch in the back of your throat. The butterflies that flutter through your pulse. The feel of his hair between your fingers, the roughness of his jaw scraping your skin. The press of his fingers against your spine.
Do you remember that kiss? I sure do! I remember exactly what it felt like when my husband made his first move. I remember standing by my car door saying goodnight, I remember the uncertain yet smoldering look in his eyes when he asked for the kiss, the slight smile that curved my lips and trapped my breath before I looked up from heavy-lidded eyes and nodded. The anticipation! And then, BAM! Sensation took over. And I wasn’t just simply feeling his full lips on mine. It was a dance. Our breath tangled and I breathed him in. My arms acted on their own, slipping around his warm neck, testing the softness of his hair. My blood super-heated. Heck, my foot probably would have popped if I hadn't ended up backed against the cool metal of my SUV. I felt new. Alive. I was completely swept away. Each of my senses were honed and heightened by the exploration. It wasn’t tawdry or obscene… and writing a detailed kiss doesn't have to be either. Just because you expound on the experience doesn't make it some clawing, sleazy thing.
A kiss contains romance, and passion… a precursor of things to come. If I can’t see or feel or taste that kiss you wrote in some way, it loses its power and becomes a cardboard representation of something meant to be unforgettable.
So whether you write conservative romance or more spicy stuff, know that your most innocent details stir your readers response. They give credibility to the emotion of the scene. And most importantly, they put your reader in a moment worth reading about.
Okay, seriously…why waste all that goodness? A kiss doesn’t expire when lips untangle. The memory of the kiss is just as potent as act itself. I hate it when I read a book that belittles the effects of a solid smooch. I mean, if you are really good and kissed there is no way you forget about it, right?
So reach back and draw out those stolen moments. Revisit the sensational reaction of such a simple touch. (Yes, Meg… this is where the romance is. This is where the line is crossed between friends and lovers. Spark!) Is there something that comes back to mind later when they are either desperate to forget it or can’t stop reliving the glorious and long-awaited moment? When you are wrapped up in a swoon-worthy kiss there are often things that go unprocessed at the time. Things that return to us and make us sigh, or blush, or grow giddy as a school-girl. Draw on your own experience, or dare to dream about a kiss that could turn your world upside down. THIS is the kiss to write. This is the kiss we crave on the page. The kiss that reminds us of the magic of falling. And the undeniable connection in a perfect match!
Your turn to kiss and tell! Share one of your kiss scenes—just for fun or for some pointers. Juicy or tame, all are welcome here! (I’m obviously not shy.) So go on… pucker up! Make it count. Let’s wrap up this week with a kiss! MUAH!
Amy Leigh Simpson writes Romantic Suspense that is heavy on the romance, unapologetically honest, laced with sass and humor, and full of the unfathomable Grace of God. She is the completely sleep deprived mama to two little tow-headed mischief makers and wife to her very own swoon-worthy hero. Represented by the oh-so-wise and dashing Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc.