Love is in the Air | Kissing Scenes
- Don’t write kiss, write everything else. A “slow, loving and passionate kiss” does not include the actual word kiss if at all possible. Write what the character(s) is feeling. Write using the senses (cross off smell, touch, sight, taste, and sound from your list as you write). The wordkiss is for pecks in the cheek and quick goodbyes. A passionate kiss is everything butkiss, if you catch our meaning.
- Less is more. You don’t need three paragraphs of exposition to describe a kiss. Write as much as you can and weed out the stuff that doesn’t make you sigh. Focus your writing to be as intimate as you can. A kiss involves two people. A real kiss makes the reader forget everything but those two people.
- Keep your characters in character. Think very hard about what a passionate kiss between two characters means for them individually. For a villain, it could mean salvation, redemption, self-loathing. For a young woman in love, it could be trust, happiness, a future. You get the idea. Your characters will all approach a kiss with something different, and they will likely focus on different things, so keep that in mind when you describe the physical aspects of a kiss as well as their feelings.
Okay, first, remember that a kiss is much, much more than just lips. It is lips, but also tongues, teeth, eyes, faces, hands, noses, bodies, heartbeats, breath, voice- and most importantly, a kiss is emotions. A kiss without emotion is just wet mushy lips stuck together. Ew. Gross. The most important part of a kiss isn’t the how, but the who- because of the emotions between the two people.
- lips- Lips can slide, glide over each other smoothly, or they can be chapped and rough and dry and get stuck on each other. They can match, top-to-top and bottom-to-bottom, or they can overlap, with one person’s top or bottom lip captured between the other person’s lips (yummy). If there is lipstick or chapstick there is lipstick or chapstick flavor, otherwise, lips don’t have a taste (can you taste yours?). Lips also can smack- the sound of two of them coming together or pulling apart, because they’re wet and warm and soft.
- tongue-Tongues are always wet, and always warm. They’re very versatile. They can trace over lips, teeth, or another tongue. They can be smooth and graceful or teasing and flicking. When tongues are involved, there is drool. It’s only sexy when you like the person you’re kissing, or else it’s kinda gross. :P
- teeth- teeth can clack together awkwardly, or teeth can bite down sensually. A person biting their own lip is cute, a person biting another’s lips is sexy. A person biting gently is sensual, a person biting roughly is sexual.
- eyes- Eyes can be wide open with surprise, half-lidded with desire, fully closed with pleasure. Eyes can gaze lovingly, lustfully, wistfully, hungrily, seductively- it all depends upon the emotions of your characters. Have them do whatever you like, but don’t leave them out- give them at least a mention!
- faces- Faces are what the lips are attached to. Noses bump, cheeks flush, ears turn red, foreheads either wrinkle or relax. Kisses can leave lips, quite easily, and become kisses on chins, cheeks, noses, foreheads, ears, necks, throats. Kisses on noses or foreheads are cute and adorable, kisses on cheeks are sweet, kisses on chins, ears, and throats are very sexual. And a kiss on the lips can be all of those! <3
- hands- Hands are super-important. In order to describe a kiss, usually you want to also describe the hands. Where are they? Does one character have their hand behind the other’s head or back, holding them close? Are they on someone’s shoulders pulling them near, or pushing them away? Fingers brushing someone’s cheek or palms grabbing someone’s ass convey two very different kinds of situations, even if the kiss itself is exactly the same.
- noses- Noses are annoying. They easily get in the way, especially for first kisses! People have to tilt their head to one side or the other, and if they don’t, noses bump. I’d only mention noses if a kiss is supposed to be awkward or uncertain or nervous.
- bodies-bodies are either close together, or far away. Someone can be surrounded comfortingly by someone’s arms, or terrifyingly trapped by them. Bodies are warm or hot, they are calm or nervous, relaxed or tense. Body language says a lot. Is your character pulling away, or moving closer?
- heartbeat- Hearts can beat fast or slow, and that’s about all they can do- but there are lots of reasons why they do! A heart can beat fast with fear or excitement or nervousness; a heart can pound with lust or race with terror or sing with joy. Hearts can glow, cower, or shatter. When you really want to drive the emotions of a character home, mention the heart.
- breath- To me, the most consuming part of a kiss is the breath. The air that someone else has just breathed going deep into your lungs is very intimate. Lips and tongues don’t have a taste, but breath does. Each person’s breath tastes different, smells different, and surrounds a person differently than anyone else’s breath. Breath can be warm and sweet, breath can be hot and sexy, breath can be hot and frightening. It is something that is very present and should not be left out. A lot of writers leave breath out. And it’s so important; it’s the most intimate part of a kiss. Someone else is breathing into your lungs, and it’s either heaven or it’s hell.
- voice- Voice conveys much, even without words. A voice can groan, whimper, gasp, moan, catch, whine, scream, sigh. Voice can convey emotion powerfully, and while some kisses are silent, usually they’re not.
- emotion- Emotion is the most important- and the thing you try not to say. You want to describe it, through all of the things above, so that it’s perfectly clear what your characters are feeling, without you ever using the “feelings words”. If they’re in love, their bodies will lean close, their eyes will smile, their voices will giggle softly. If they’re nervous, their palms will sweat, their noses will bump, their voices will shudder. If they’re afraid, their muscles will be tense, their faces will grimace, their lips will not open. Emotion is the color that you keep inside your mind as you write; it’s the base line that drives the description behind everything else you say.
Wow, that was a lot! Gosh I hope it wasn’t too much! Keep in mind not every kiss has all these things- this is just a list of things to consider when writing a kiss, and based on how long of a kiss you want to make. Keep in mind that typing “they kissed for a long time”…that’s six words, it takes half a second to read, so that’s a short kiss! If you want a long kiss, you need long sentences that make the reader linger.
So maybe to start off, pick three things on the list to describe in your first kiss. Don’t try to do it all- that would be too much for even the most epic kiss. Just pick what’s most important to this particular scene, to these particular characters, and describe those parts along with the lips, and you’ve got yourself an awesome, emotional kiss. <3