Ah, the kiss. Unless your character is forced to lay a peck on a grandmother’s wrinkly cheek, there’s bound to be a bit more description than “he kissed her.” Raise your hand if you find writing a lip lock intimidating. Yeah, me too. I always worry I’m going to write something awful in a fit of idiocy, like “his mouth swelled and puckered like an infected belly button” and end up on some Worst Kissing Scene in Fiction list.
It was particularly difficult to write the kissing scenes in Between Seasons, my recently-released paranormal romance. Why? Well, how do you write a smooch between a ghost and a live person that doesn’t sound insane? It’s not like that’s a place where I could write what I know – I may have a ghost in my house, but I don’t make a habit of making out with him. But whether you’re fleshing out a kiss in a paranormal setting or your kissers are run of the mill humans, there are always ways to avoid coming up with a soul-sucking pot of terribleness that leaves your readers snickering.
Aside from avoiding bad metaphors (like the infected belly button thing), I recommend not trying to perfect the kiss. Look, music does not swell behind my head when I make out with my husband, nor do birds sing. And even though we’re really great at smooching now, our first kiss was awkward – there was saliva and teeth knocking and chins and noses in the way. It drives me insane to read a first kiss where everything goes juuuuuuuuuust right. Many writers feel pressured to romanticize that initial kiss, but it just comes off as unbelievable. Rise up against the shackles, people: own the awkwardness of a first kiss and reclaim the reality!
But even worse than a perfect kiss full of bizarre metaphor is the kiss that reads like a technical manual. Insert tab A (the tongue) into slot B (the mouth) just isn’t that enticing to read. And then there are the typical kissing scene clichés, all of which appear to revolve around tongues for some crazy reason. Tongues do not battle for dominance – it’s a terrible picture, like some wretched high school wrestling match gone awry. Tongues dancing is only slightly better. Infusing a kiss with emotion is what makes a scene special. Hell, I’d rather read about a main character worrying that her breath stinks or wondering if she left the stove burner on then read about the counterclockwise motion of her tongue while it probes some dude’s molars.
If I can make a ghostly kiss believable, romantic, and emotional, surely anyone can do it – just make it a point to write more about what a kiss feels like rather than the physical motion of it. And if you sit down to write and find you’re coming up with nothing, go grab your significant other or some hot stranger on the street and plant a big juicy one on his or her mouth . . . and pay attention! It’s for research, after all.
Damn, what a way to suffer for your craft!
Now’s your chance to win a copy of my novel, Between Seasons, and judge my character flaws . . . er, whether I can write a decent kiss. Leave a comment by May 12th giving me your best advice for writing a great kiss. One commenter will win a review copy of the novel in the e-format of your choice (Kindle, Nook, or PDF).
There are things Patrick Boyle will never forget: the sound of his own neck breaking at the moment of his death in the fall of 1970, the sweet taste of his mother’s chocolate cake, and the awful day his parents abandoned him in his childhood house-turned prison.
Nineteen-year-old Patrick wonders for decades if God has forgotten all about him or if he’s being punished for some terrible crime or sin over a lovely forty years trapped in an empty home. But when Sara Oswald, a strange woman with a mysterious past, buys his house, old feeling reawakens, and a new optimism convinces him that she’s the answer to his prayers.
Things are never simple, though, especially when she begins channeling the memories of his life and death in her writing.
What’s your best advice for writing a great kiss?
Buy Between Seasons:
Amazon US link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0061G3HHA
Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0061G3HHA
BN link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/between-seasons-aida-brassington/1107065107
Smashwords link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/100552
About the Author:
Aida Brassington lives in a haunted house in the suburbs of Pennsylvania with her husband of five years and a Great Dane named Patrick. She loves all things related to Halloween and spooky movies, but not because she shares her house with a ghost (and it should be noted her ghost does nothing more than occasionally appear in the second floor hallway and hide her keys) — she just likes being scared. She is a former political junkie with a deep interest in artisan food, reading, and scuba diving.
Find her at Twitter http://twitter.com/AidaBrassington
her website http://aidabrassington.wordpress.com/
or Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5307026.Aida_Brassington