How to Write a Kiss
Ah, kissing, perhaps one of the scariest encounters a writer must face at one point or another along their path of creative self discovery, that which we like to label ‘roleplay’. A simple kiss is in fact, not so simple at all. A small smooch that in reality on lasts a few seconds, in the world of writing, can last for a couple of good threads, if played out correctly and in an a manner that keeps you on your toes. Here’s how to do so:
First off, the greatest misconception about kissing is that all the best kisses are filled with hot passion and blinding lust. In reality, that may be so, but not in the writing world. To start with, not every kiss is like the one shared between Allie and Noah in ‘The Notebook’. At all. Kisses can be scary, uncomfortable and awkward or even forced- all depending on your character. No kiss is the same and each person kisses differently. So now, when you write out your kisses, here’s what you should take into consideration and include in your writing:
Think about the situation.
What’s happening? Who’s kissing whom? Where are they, in the middle of a corridor or at home on the couch? If your character is the one who initiated the kiss, what are they thinking about? Is it what they expected it to be? Are they nervous about the reaction they’ll get? Or, if your character is the one being kissed, how do they feel about that? Who’s kissing them, someone they like or someone they hate? Was it unexpected, or was it wanted? Do they know each other? If so, for how long and what was their relationship like? Are they strangers? How does your character feel about not only the kiss, but about the opposing character. All these things but together set the mood of the kiss, for example: Long lost lovers reuniting with a kiss at midnight under a fall of rain, or two highs school kids at a party during a game of spin the bottle. Each kiss feels different and has a different theme.
Know your character.
How would your character react to a kiss? Are they experienced and used to this, or is it all fresh and new? Some characters hate being touched by other people while others feed of love and attention. Would your character be freaking out or would they go with it? Would they kiss back out of pity, pressure or free will? The more in character you make the kiss, the better results you will have.
In a kiss, body language is everything. To give your writing more depth, don’t only describe what’s going on in your character’s head, but act it out too. Physically respond to the other character’s actions and add to the feeling of the kiss. Deep passionate snogs and awkward short pecks are both kisses, but each kiss triggers different reactions within us as well as our characters. Here are some things to take into consideration, working our way from the top to bottom:
- Heads - Most people tilt their heads to the right when they kiss, but your character may not. Or maybe your partner’s character may not and they bump foreheads or whatnot. Also, remember, kisses can travel from the mouth to different places on the face, like the chin or jaw for example, or maybe an affectionate peck on the eyelid.
- Eyes – Kissing with closed eyes will give you more to talk about feeling wise, but if your character is surprised by the kiss or is exceptionally awkward about it, they may have their eyes open in which case they could be observing the other person from up close. Also, sometimes eyes are half open of fluttering with pleasure.
- Noses – Noses often get in the way of kisses, bump or rub against one another. If they’re pressed together, your character may need to break away more often for some air. If the heads are being tilted enough or in the right way, they shouldn’t be a problem but during a first or awkward kiss, they’d probably be annoying.
- Lips – Not only the leading variable throughout the kiss, remember, they’re the first part of the other character that yours will feel. Are they warm and moist or cracked and dry? Has your character been wearing lip balm, maybe they have a flavor. Or maybe one of the characters has lipstick on which would smudge all over the place. Lips are generally warm and tender, and would feel really nice for your character. They can press against each other with violent passion or gently brush up against each other, they can travel and explore the other person’s lip as well as force their mouth open as well as gently suck on one another.
- Tongues – Not all kisses involve tongue, but a lot do. Tongues can dance together in synchronization or awkwardly explore the other’s mouth, again, depending on the characters and the situation. They can trace the other character’s lips or teeth as well as leave saliva wherever they go, which brings me to another matter: Saliva. There’s no such thing as a dry make-out session. When they pull apart, maybe there’s a leftover thread. It can also taste like something, maybe its nice peppermint, maybe its chicken sandwich. Anyway, back to tongues, remember: Tongues bring a lot of hotness and intimacy into the kiss, or possibly disgust.
- Teeth – Teeth also exist, you know. Maybe they could clack against each other awkwardly or bite down on the other characte’s lips in a sensual manner. It’s up to you.
- Breaths – Everyone needs to breathe. Remember to break apart every now and again for a fresh supply of oxygen, but also remember that your character responds to the other character’s breath- is it warm and comforting? Also, how has the kiss affected your character’s breathing? Are they long, deep intakes or short pants of excitement?
- Bodies – Is your character being pulled in or are they being pushed away? Are they pressed against the other character or is there a small gap and they have to lean forward? Also, if your character were taller, they would have to bend over slightly, and if your character is shorter they may have to arch backwards. What does the other character’s body feel like to yours? Also think of clothing (unless they’re naked, during which think of the skin- hot and sticky or cold and dry?) maybe a foreign sweater feels itchy, or maybe the layers make your character anxious and desperate for more.
- Hands and arms – Depending on the kind of kiss and the character, there are a million things the hand and arms could be doing. Are they graciously wrapping around the other character or handing limp? Hands- are they grabbing handfuls of hair, massaging the cheek of sliding into the back pocket? There are a million different places characters like to place their hands and arms when they kiss, wether that’s a closed embrace around the neck or waist, or just feeling the other character’s body at random places. Maybe their arms are just handing at their sides with clenched fists?
- Hips - Are they bumping carelessly into one another or grinding seductively? Are they pulled apart from the other character or pressed up right against them?
- Legs – Now last but not least, legs. Legs can lead people on or push them away. As always, depending on the character and the situation, maybe their legs are wrapped around the other’s waist, or rubbing against their shins seductively. If you were the shorter character, maybe you’d have to rise up on the tips of your toes, which could get tiresome. Maybe the legs are pushed far back as an attempt to get away?
And, that’s pretty much it! Just remember that kisses can bring all sorts of feelings to your character, maybe that’s a tingling feeling in their fingers or butterflies in their stomach, it’s up to you! The trick is to balance out writing about the emotions and the actions themselves. Kisses can bring on cold discomfort as well as loving heat- now go ahead and mix up your literary lip-locking sessions with some controversial acts!