I love writing kiss scenes because I love reading kiss scenes. They are immersive and romantic. So, I find that the best kiss scenes are kiss scenes with meaning. The reason that the readers care when two characters smush their faces together is that the protagonist cares. If the protagonist doesn’t care about this kiss they’re having, why should the readers care? There are a bajillion reasons why a kiss could happen in a story. Whatever the reason is for this particular kiss doesn’t matter as much as it matters that there is a reason.
So the main thing to remember when writing a kiss scene is to consider what it means to your protagonist, also consider what it means to the other person. One thing to consider is that the reason for the protagonist might be different from the other person’s. Then those two reasons could clash and cause problems.
We’re talking about kissing scenes, namely the first kiss between two characters in a book. The first kiss is usually the most important one in the story. That’s the one that typically gets the most attention writing-wise. If you want to write a kissing scene and search for advice, stay will me till last.
How to write a kissing scene?
The first kiss is the most important and anticipated event by your readers. It’s also the one writers focus on the most because it’s the most detailed compared to the other kisses throughout the rest of the story.
How do you write a kiss that makes your readers fall in love with your characters? It might be especially hard if you haven’t kissed anyone yet or haven’t shared a good kiss with anyone. But don’t worry. There’s still plenty of time for you to have hot makeout sessions with whoever is willing.
There are three things you want to do when writing kiss scenes.
- What does a kiss look like at first glance?
- How the kiss makes them feel their emotions during and after the kiss and body language?
- What are they doing with their hands, and how is their body responding to stating the kiss?
Avoid screwing this up by keeping the description light and getting straight to the point over detail. Demolishes all the anticipation your reader has for this moment. Considering all the kiss scenes we see in the media, we should know what one looks like. Please keep it simple and use pleasant actions.
Do you want more advice? I will give you my top 10 tips for writing a kissing scene. These tips apply to any kiss between all types of people, and you can apply to erotica. Let’s begin!
1. Slow it down
All novels require appropriate pacing, and the pace will depend on the scene itself. For example, action scenes require speed. The pacing needs to mirror the moment’s intensity, but the kiss scenes are the opposite. You want to slow them down. The intensity of a kiss is in the emotions and sensations. These things require description, and description thrives at a slower pace.
- Take your time writing this kiss scene. Focus on the details. Draw your reader in.
These are key to writing a memorable and satisfying scene that readers will want to read repeatedly.
2. Don’t tell directly
The easiest way to slow the pace of a kiss scene is to show the readers the kiss rather than telling the readers about the kiss. For example one, Hero kissed her. For example two, Hero leaned in closer, taking a shallow breath before pressing her lips to mind. The first example states what happened in the most boring, generic way possible. The second example paints a picture. You can see the characters moving, and you can hear them breathing.
- The idea is to create an experience for the reader.
If they’re invested in your book’s romance, they’ll want a payoff with the kiss scene. That means showing them details.
3. Utilize your senses
One of the most effective ways to show a scene, let alone a kiss scene, is to utilize your five senses. Let’s start with touch. That could be the feeling of a character’s lips or hands. Taste is another obvious one. How do their lips taste? Or, if their lips are traveling, how does their skin taste?
- If you are trying to write a pleasant kiss, utilize pleasant tastes. Is your character taking in their partner’s nervous gaze?
- If their breathing is shallow, they might be nervous or excited. If their breathing is heavy, things are probably getting hot and steamy.
Lastly, we have a scent. Maybe they’re basking in the scent of their lover’s perfume on their throat. Be careful not to delve into scent a little too much. It can get awkward fast.
4. Match your intention with the tone
Your wording will play a direct role in how readers interpret the kiss. Remember, if this is an important moment for the characters, we’re not telling. So, we’re not going to say it was a romantic kiss or a sexy kiss. We’re relying on descriptions and visuals instead. That means you need to be careful about your word choice because it will do all of your tellings.
- If you describe a kiss as delicate, it immediately creates a soft tone depending on the other words.
So be mindful of the tone you’re conveying and whether or not it matches your intention.
5. Use verbs technically
Verbs do a lot in establishing tone and conveying a sense of action and touch. As we already covered, touch is essential when writing about intimacy. Make sure you choose verbs that paint an accurate picture and maintain the immersion. For example, a viral word used in kiss scenes is Slam, as their lips slam together. The intention is to convey passion, but mouths slamming together sounds like a concussion.
How about an example from the opposite end of the spectrum? Say you wrote, her hands went up to his back. What is the weakest verb possible? It conveys nothing. Did her hands sweep up his back? Did they glide up his back? These verbs are great because they create visuals and establish tone. Sweep could be swoony, glide could be gentle, and climb could be horny. The bottom line is that your verbs will do a lot of storytelling for you, so don’t mess them up.
6. Use synonyms
If you’re slowing the pace and describing the kiss, you may repeatedly utilize the same words: kiss hands and lips. It’s not a good look to use the exact words excessively. Yes, you’ll probably use them more than once. But you don’t want to overdo it because it makes your writing clunky and robotic. It is where synonyms come into play.
If you’ve said the word lips too many times, it might be a good time to use the word mouth or tongue. If you’ve said the word kiss a lot, you can instead describe their lips pressing together or their bodies closing the space between them. If you’ve been talking about hands too much, switch to fingers, or describe what the hands are doing.
7. Describe the kiss itself
You don’t have to go into meticulous detail describing the physical action of the kiss. You can say it’s a soft kiss. You can say it’s a long, smooth kiss. For example, the hero pressed his tongue into the heroine’s mouth, or she bit his bottom lip. But you don’t need to explain the exact placement of one lip on top of the other lip or tongue sliding or mouth movement or saliva.
Why are you doing this? You’re taking something romantic and beautiful and making it clinical. The kissing part of the kiss wouldn’t be the best part of kissing if that made any sense.
- The best part of kissing is how it makes you feel.
If the kiss is good and you’re into the person, you’re kissing, and you’re not going to be focused on your mouth. If the kiss is bad, you’ll be focused on your mouth. So if you’re spending too much time focusing on what the lips are doing, you’re communicating that the kiss isn’t all that step to describing the body.
8. Present the body
Kissing is an involved process. To describe how your characters are physically interacting with one another. These descriptions will be key in communicating whether this is a sweet, passionate, or naughty kiss.
- Hands in the hair are incredible. Her hands could be running through the heroine’s hair ever so gently. Or he could grab a fistful and tug.
As a reader, which here situation sounds sweet and which one sounds dirty. Hero could be cupping the heroine’s face or guiding her chin toward him. His hands could be around her waist. They could be sliding up her back, grabbing at parts, and her hands could be doing the same process.
What about the rest of the body? If they’re standing, the rest of the body is probably standing. Are they pressed up against each other? Is there maybe some grinding action going on? All of this body stuff is going to communicate all on its own. You won’t need to say he kissed her sexually because if they’re dry humping, the reader gets horniness involved.
9. Represents the scenario while kissing
Your body reacts to a kiss is how you know that you’re getting kissed real good. What is happening to your character internally while the face suck edge is going down? I call these descriptions the Robert Palmer descriptions. You may be familiar with the Florence and the Machine version for those too young to understand this reference.
- A good kiss will make you hot and sweaty, which can be embarrassing. So don’t focus on that so much. It’ll make your heart beat faster.
- Don’t make your characters choke on one another.
In general, your body becomes more sensitive. You’ll get goosebumps or chills, and every touch will suddenly feel very magnified. You need to describe these things to tell the reader that this kiss is hot.
10. Describe the emotion
You don’t want to say that your character feels happy or horny. Their feelings should be well communicated through all that body craziness you described. But kissing is an emotional experience, especially if it’s the first kiss with someone new. Also, it’s going to change a few things between your characters.
So how are your characters feeling? What does this kiss mean going forward for them? Is it a relief? Have they been dying to kiss this person? Do they suddenly feel very vulnerable around this person? These are things that you can communicate during the kiss or shortly after the kiss because a good kiss is so much more than lips flopping all over one another.
Bouns tips: Observe your characters before and after a kiss
A kiss is a romantic experience. It can get awkward for your reader if it’s taking half a page or more to figure out the mechanics of this kiss. That said, how two of your characters kiss is less important than how the kiss makes them feel before and after. It’s the best way to make them memorable for your reader. But how the kiss makes them feel doesn’t mean automatic fireworks. The feelings leading up to the kiss also have to build up. Is your character nervous?
Have they wanted this for a while? Did it strike them how bad they wanted to kiss the other character at the moment? Did they not even see the kiss coming? Once the kiss happens, how do they feel after? Could they kiss this person again and forever? Was it so sweet for them that it made them feel bashful when it was the first kiss? If these characters are meant to be together by the end of your story, make sure it starts and ends well. You want the readers to be rooting for them by its end.
When you go to write your kiss scenes, remember, kissing is about more than the mouth. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Keep in mind that some cases that are assumed to be bad could end well or better than expected. So it all relies on what your end goal is, whether you want the kiss to be phenomenal or horrid.
Not all kisses are created equal. Some kisses are soft, deep, romantic, flirtatious, shy, and bold. Not all kiss scenes are written to thrill the audience. Some are designed to disgust us or make us uncomfortable. You need to know what kiss scene you’re trying to write before you write it because it will 100% dictate the tone, the pacing, and the verbs you use.
If you’re writing a gross kiss scene that your character is supremely uncomfortable with, it’s beautiful to use verbs because they create a very negative connotation. If you’re writing a gentle kiss, stick with softer verbs and visuals. If it’s a deep kiss that gets your character sucked in, focus on getting inside their body, not in a sexual way. So, start your writing and follow these kissing tips to write a good romance. If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comment box.
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