Kissing IRL is easy, fun, and generally FANTASTIC, but writing a kissing scene can prove to be much more difficult than living one. Getting the emotions from your head to your pen/keyboard isn’t always easy, and when it comes to something as tender and potentially life changing as the perfect kiss, you want to make sure it’s written right.
Think back to the best kisses you’ve had in your life. Chances are your crush didn’t walk up and plant one on you out of nowhere. The best kisses have some build up. You thought about it, dreamed about it, yearned for it, and when it finally happened…BLAMMO. Your world was rocked, senses heightened, and for that moment the world made sense.
Powerful stuff right? So how can you take that indescribable feeling and put it into words? Here are a few simple cues to make sure the peck packs a punch (say that 5 times fast…).
1. Know Why the Kiss is Happening
I don’t mean, “they were on a walk along the beach and looked into each other’s eyes” or “they just defeated the evil warlord and felt a special connection”. I’m talking about the observations your characters are having that are making one another irresistible in the moment before a smooch. Things like: “His wet shirt clung to his chest” or “the way her eyes sparkled in the morning light.”
2. Set the Mood
Both internal and external elements will set the tone of the kiss. Are your characters alone or in a group? Are they feeling awkward or comfortable? Is it light or dark? Warm or cold? Adjectives are your friends, and will help you transport your readers to the moment.
3. Physical Response to Kissing
Write more than just the lips. While they are the primary focus of a kiss, think about what the rest of the body is doing. A peck on the lips…I do that with my grandmother! Make your kiss passionate and dynamic by mentioning the following:
Bodies: Are they touching? Where?
Eyes: Open or closed?
Hands (…oh the hands!): Are they lying limp and useless…or are they pulling his hair, or on the small of her back, or caressing her face?
Don’t leave out any detail. I’m not saying you have to infuse every peck with red hot passion that will make your reader squirm, but make sure you take the time to make your writers feel connected.
4. Emotional Response to Kissing
Don’t make this the one nightstand of kisses…a detailed and physical account of the kiss without the emotion backing it will fall flat. A kiss can be fuelled by many emotions: love, anger, passion, loneliness. Whatever it may be, give your readers a good understanding of what is feeding the flame.
5. After The Kiss
Unfortunately every kiss must come to an end. Unless you’re planning on writing in a gastrostomy and having your characters be fed through a tube, they’re going to need their mouths back at some point (life is so unfair). Now that your readers are hot & bothered, don’t abandon them by ending the kiss and quickly moving on. Imagine how you would feel if the person you’ve been pining over gave you the kiss of a lifetime, making you weak at the knees, then turned around and walked away. NOT COOL. Don’t do that to your readers.
My final word of advice is: practice makes perfect! No you lush, I don’t mean go out on a smooching spree, I mean write and rewrite the scene. Show it to some friends and ask them which version they connect to the most. You should be able to find out pretty quickly what elements affect the reader’s connection and which areas to focus on.
So, to sum up, keep in mind these 5 tips on how to write a kissing scene:
- Know why the Kiss Happening: What makes your characters irresistible to each other in that moment?
- Set the Mood: Where are your characters?
- Physical Response to Kissing: What is the rest of the body doing?
- Emotional Response to Kissing: What emotions are behind the kiss?
- After the Kiss: What happens when lovers lips part?