Monday, 19 March 2012

Writing Kissing Scenes

Kissing scenes are like marmite. You either love 'em or hate 'em, writing wise. You've got to get this big, bubbling mass of emotions and lust and hope and nerves and put it down in a couple of paragraphs that make the reader go "ahhh" or "eurgh" (depending on the situation).

I'm no expert, but there are a few things I think are important to bear in mind when writing a kissing scene.

1) Have they kissed before? Is it their first kiss together, or the point of view character's first kiss ever? This has an impact on the emotions and reactions of the characters - if they've been going out for months, they might be more relaxed with each other, whereas if the guy is your POV girl's total crush and she's so nervous she's dying a little inside, then the dynamics will be all different.

2) Who starts the kiss? This shows you a lot about who has the most power, also mega important in kissing scenes. Oh, and I don't just mean physical power, I mean who's the dominant one. Also think about who ends the kiss - is your shy POV girl going to stop because she can't breathe, is so excited, or because they're both so hopeless he bites her tongue by accident? This actually happened to a friend of mine. Not nice.

3) External Factors. Where are they? If they're at a crowded rave-up party, then they might be getting it on on the dance floor, or they might find a quiet bedroom to...continue. If they're sitting on the roof, they might be freezing but have an epic view. Describe the sights, sounds, and smells, too: the bassline thumping through the house, the seagulls calling at the beach, the smell of barbequeues at the park...

5) Personality and mood. This is SO important. Are they shy, angry, lusty, scared, euphoric? Are they super confident, mega popular, snogging the hot jock? Are they trying to pretend that they're super confident, mega popular but actually totally hating the way the hot jock gropes them to show his mates what they're missing? Are they about to fight each other in a huge intergalactic war/football match?

And here's a little teaser of the kissing scene I wrote yesterday. It's a first draft, so it's certainly not perfect, but I like it. To set the scene, India and Luke are in the middle of some woodland after having broken into someone's property. They've been enemies and then casual friends, but are now seeing each other as something more...

India reached out, twisted his hands apart, stepped in closer. She would push the misery away. On her tiptoes she bounced up, planting her lips on his cheek. His skin was cold, unexpectedly so, and Luke hadn’t expected the kiss either, twisting to face her, and her lips were on his. Warm and soft, compared to his cheek, a lingering, fumbled moment, long enough to enjoy it and they sprang apart, both blushing furiously. All India could think was that Jem was wrong, he wasn’t a superior kisser, and now he was blushing, he looked warmer, two bright spots of colour in his pale face, his fingers tangled with hers strong and alive.

She blinked, uncertain. ‘Uh...well…God.’

‘That was…’ Luke searched her eyes.

‘Unexpected.’ India backed away slightly, tried to regain her composure. ‘I suppose I tried to go for your cheek and I -,’

‘Missed? I…it was…I l-liked it.’

‘Me too, I –,’

He cut her off with a kiss. This was different, more urgent, as if India’s kiss was the only thing that could save him from drowning. She slid her arms around his neck and pressed against him, feeling reckless and out of control. Luke tasted of sugar and peppermint and lust, his lips hungry against her own, and he deepened the kiss. His hand was on her breast and she reached for his belt buckle, revelling in this wild, churning feeling that she couldn’t hold back. Luke moaned into her mouth, sliding his hand down and up under her t-shirt until he found her bra clasp. His touch was hot against her cold back, pulling her closer to him.

What do you think about writing kissing scenes? Do you hate 'em or love 'em? And do you have any tips for writing them well?


  1. Nice advice :). I usually keep kissing scenes short and umimportant haha. I don't like to dwell on a kiss so I try to move on quickly.

    Btw, tagged you for the lucky 7 meme!

    1. thanks! I agree - if I had it my way, it would be: "Luke kissed her. It was amazing." lol

      cheers for tagging me xx

  2. I'm of the opinion they are hard to write, but oh so fun to read!! Great job on yours.

  3. Wow, that looks really awesome for a first draft! Even for a non-first draft!

    I was glad to find this post. I think kissing scenes are kind of hard to write and I'm trying to work on that. My first time on your blog, by the way. :) I'll be back!

    1. hi! *waves*

      Kissing scenes are really hard to write, I sgree. I'm just glad I don't write romance - if I find kissing hard to write, well...

  4. Just found your blog but I like it! :)

    As for kissing scenes...I have a mixed view. Sometimes they are so amazing and so much fun to write. I started in my fanfic years ago but in my WIP it's a bit harder. I think I am just nervous of getting it wrong. And that first kiss between characters, it really changes the mood between them. For their first kiss I wanted it done right and I think I stressed out so much and put too much pressure on it. Now I'm happy with it, but then I have had lots of time to talk myself down lol.

    BTW I like your little scene you gave us.

    1. thank you! I agree, it's major stressful writing The Kiss because you know that readers are going to have such high expectations and you want it to work well. I want to read yours now :)

  5. Kudos for putting this out there! I'm half-proud half-scared-to death of my latest kissing scene. It comes late in the book and it's kind of a big deal, so...I hope I got it right!

    1. Half-proud half-scared-to-death is the best way to be - that way you know you've written something special...

  6. Really loved your kissing scene! It was so good. And thanks for joining the hop :D

  7. thank you so much for the tips. They look like they will help me a lot in my first kissing scene that (hopefully) ill write soon.. :/ feeling nervous....
    anyways, I luv-luv-loooved your writing sample you have there. ITS FAN-TAB-U-LOOOOUS! you should be very proud. xoxoxoxoxoxox :) anonymous

  8. Hey! I just read your blog and I found it very helpful. I have been writing this story, and I'm kind of a sucker for cute romantic things, so of course there's kissing. Lots of kissing. But I would like to know if you could read this short piece from my story and maybe give me some pointers. And for some background, this is the first kiss between the two characters in the scene (Caroline and Andrew) Caroline is in Missouri visiting her grandmother, and Andrew works on the grounds for Caroline's grandmother. And Andrew apologizes before he kisses her because he feels that she is his superior.

    “I’m sorry, Caroline.”
    What? Her mind screams but she stays silent, afraid to say anything. Afraid he may be angry, upset, or sad. As if to answer her question he turns towards her without missing a beat. Her mind calculates his next move but he just stands there, not even six inches between them. Her eyes crawl up his chest, over his chin, and across his nose until they meet his. Andrews breathing has turned ragged, unsteady, and chaotic. His chest heaves up and down with each passing second. He brings his hand up to her chin, hesitating for a moment. But when his slender fingers slip around the base of her neck, Caroline can’t tell if the shiver that shudders through her body is because of him or the cool breeze that just blew through the window. With his thumb he nudges her chin forward for a better angle just before his lips brush against hers, soft and innocent. Caroline’s eyes flutter shut as she focuses on the buzz on the edges of her lips.
    The feeling of his lips and hands remain against her skin like a ghost. Her eyes blink open when she hears feet against the tree’s rough bark.
    What was that?