How to Write a Kissing Scene
How to Write a Kissing Scene in 5 Simple Steps
If you want to learn how to write a kissing scene for a romance novel or other work of fiction, you must first understand the motivation. The act of kissing arises from an uncontrollable desire on the part of the two characters about whom you are writing. This is the very fact you must also communicate to your reader, and not too subtly, so that they may truly enjoy your kissing scene.
Imagine if a man you had never seen before, and to whom you were NOT attracted in the least, walked up and laid a big fat kiss on you. Would it inspire you and turn you on, or would it disgust and embarrass you? I'm betting on the latter.
On the other hand, if a hot guy you've been secretly admiring for weeks grabbed you in a heated moment and kissed you, it would be a very different story indeed.
It's the same for your reader. If they do not feel the same feelings your feel, then your kissing scene is going to flop.
Make sure the reader can see where your characters are. My examples are purposely short, but feel free to add tons of description, dialogue to your own scenes. As long as you follow the basic idea of the formula, you'll be fine.
The hot sun beat down on them, reflecting off the white sand and half blinding Miranda. Ken grabbed her by the hand and sprinted for a clump of palm trees near the cliffs, about ten yards away. The sand was blistering their feet.
Put your characters in close proximity, and get their hearts racing! Build the tension. Rarely will a character just grab someone and kiss them with no buildup. You need to get them agitated and push them up close to each other, get them anxious, make them feel awkward. Danger also works well, but not for every story. It helps me to think of the kiss as an inevitable consequence of the situation rather than a conscious choice. Two people have been forced together and made to acknowledge their desires. In the example of our friends on the beach, the awkward situation comes once they reach the shade.
Miranda and Ken were both panting once they reached the trees. They fell down together into the powdery sand, wallowing and clutching at each other, laughing like giddy grade-schoolers.
Once Miranda's eyes had adjusted to the shade, and she could see once again, she propped herself up on one elbow and noticed that Ken had gone quiet and was staring at her. It made her self-conscious, but she was unable to look away once their eyes had met.
Okay, we've got them close and awkward, now what? Oh, come on...you know. We've got to turn up the heat. What happens to them once they're pressed up against each other on the sand, or huddled together in a dark train car, or locked in a bedroom?
Whatever their situation, there's a moment when they're each going to start noticing something intriguing about the other person. Their hearts are going to start pounding, their mouths are going to get dry, it's going to get harder to breathe, their heads are going to start spinning...
Your job is to point out a few sexy things they notice about each other, and make their bodies respond in some of the ways I just mentioned. It's a moment of awareness followed by a physiological and emotional response. Describe it in detail as it happens.
Like every other girl in Turtle Cove, Miranda had long admired Ken's surfer boy good looks. His tanned skin and golden-green eyes, the sprinkling of freckles across his nose and sandy blond hair were to die for. But lying this close to him, she couldn't help but notice for the first time just how muscular his shoulders were, and how lush his lips looked. She let her gaze slip lower, to the rest of his body she had seen a thousand times, but which seemed so utterly different today.
What was she doing? Ken was her best friend. No way should she have been noticing how his abs rippled down into the waistband of his swim trunks.
You've set the stage, gotten them close and awkward, and made them notice their attraction. So now all that's left is to just do it. Some little something sets it off. A thought, a gesture, a word. The first three steps were setting it up, and the fourth is the moment of truth. Remember, something sets it off, and then it just happens.
"Wow, when did you get these?" Miranda teased, reaching down to run her hand along his impressive six-pack. But Ken caught her hand in his just before she touched him, startling her.
When she looked into his eyes once again, his expression was intense, almost threatening.
For a moment, Miranda thought maybe he was angry, but before she could ponder it further, he yanked her to him and covered her mouth with his in a hungry kiss. She responded immediately, surprising herself. His mouth was so warm, the caress of his lips softer than she could have imagined. He tasted tentatively with his tongue, and Miranda opened her mouth with a low moan.
So they've kissed now. That was your goal in writing a kissing scene. You can almost pat yourself on the back, but not quite. Because, what happens now? Your loving couple can't kiss for the rest of the story. You've got to get them out of this lip lock, and back into the action of the story.
You could have them continue on, deepening the kiss, adding in some heavy petting, and perhaps going "all the way." However, if this is a PG-rated novel, or if you feel it's too early in your story and you want to continue building the sexual tension until your characters (and your readers) are about to burst, then you've got to get them out of this mess.
One good way is to have someone or something interrupt. Or you can use the technique I'm going to use in our example, which I will refer to as the "denial" technique.
Suddenly, Ken pushed away as if he'd been burned. He jumped up off the sand and started pacing back and forth with his hands on his hips.
"I'm sorry, Miranda," he said in a strangled voice. "That wasn't right."
"It's okay," Miranda said, looking at the ground. She was afraid of seeming too eager or disappointed. In fact, she wasn't quite sure how to react, to the kiss or to Ken's sudden show of regret.
"That wasn't right," he said again. "Come on, let's go find the others."
He took Miranda gently by the hand and helped her up, avoiding looking into her eyes. As they made their way deeper into the trees and up the hill, Miranda couldn't help but wonder if Ken's heart was beating as fast as hers, or if he was feeling anything akin to the hot fire of desire that had settled in her belly.
If you would like to add more dialogue to your scene, just play the scene out in your head (as you should be doing anyway, like a daydream), and imagine what your couple might say to each other. What do you think you'd say? What would you like to have said to you? What comments might hurt your feelings or confuse you?
When in doubt, say it out loud. Does it sound silly? Try to be informal without relying too much on slang or trying to do accents. Use contractions like "can't" or "I'm" rather than "cannot" or "I am." And please put setting and action descriptions between pieces of dialogue instead of just he said, she said.
Step 1 (Mood) is designed to establish a mood and get your reader to the same locale as the characters, so they can see what's going on. Steps 2 and 3 (Proximity and Observation) are to draw your reader's emotions into play. Step 4 (Kiss). Step 5 (Resolution) is necessary because you've got to get them OUT of the kissing scene and either on to a sex scene (which you could insert between Steps 4 and 5) or back to the action of the plot.
Practice this method by writing each of your kissing scenes in five distinct pieces, just as I did in my examples. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to learn how to write a kissing scene for a romance novel or any other piece of fiction when you think about it in the right way. And please, don't skimp on your descriptions. You can always cut later.
At a Glance
I recommend copying the following 5 pieces of a kissing scene as follows onto an index card or printing them out for reference while you work:
- Mood: Make sure the reader can see where your characters are.
- Proximity: Put your characters in awkwardly close proximity, and get their hearts racing!
- Observation: Make them notice something intriguing, and react to it mentally and physically.
- Kiss: Just do it! Read other authors' descriptions to broaden your kissing vocabulary.
- Resolution: They can't kiss forever. They need to either get a room, or get back to the plot.