You’ve gotten to that heart-melting part, the deliquium-inducing moment, the juiciest scene of the story: the kissing scene. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for and I’m sure your readers will be as anxious.
If you ruin this kiss, you’ll ruin the reader’s mood and the story. So you have to make sure that the kiss is perfect, a kiss that your readers can feel.
Writing a kissing scene is like kissing; you don’t have to rush things unless it’s just a kiss born out of lust—that can come out of anywhere.
Whether your characters or readers know about the imminent kiss or not, you’ve made all the plans and have set everything for them to kiss and then they finally do, and for your readers, it was worth the wait.
But how do you write such a good kiss? Here are some tips.
What Type of Kissing?
What type of kiss are we talking about?
We have to be clear about the kind of kiss we are talking about here. I think a kiss that initiates or happens during a romantic relationship should be different from a kiss that happens out of pure lust. The difference between a romantic kiss and a mere steamy lustful kiss is in the build-up. A kiss that is part of a romantic relationship needs to be set up in such a way that there’s some anticipation from the reader. Before we get to the kiss, you need to delve into the attraction between two lovebirds. It’s this attraction that will set the right tone for the kiss.
And… a kiss in a classic romantic novel should be different from a steamy kissing scene in an erotic story.
Expressions for a Kissing Scene
The secret weapons in a writer’s arsenal (when it comes to writing romantic or intimate scenes) are word-building, the flow, showing the characters’ emotions and reactions. Of course, to get these things right, you have to use the right adjectives.
Almost any adjective can work when describing a kiss, but some describe a kiss better than others in most scenes. Here’s a list of adjectives that help you describe a kiss:
Intimate, fervent, gentle, fierce, fiery, sensual, brief, bruising, stolen, sudden, sweet, swift, burning, deep, delicate, passionate, delicious, demanding, desperate, hearty, heated, hungry, innocent, intense, lingering, long, possessive, scorching, searing, secret, silent, sloppy, slow, tender, tentative, thorough, toe-curling, thrilling.
Body Language for a Kissing Scene
Heads: If it’s the first kiss, you might intentionally let characters kiss without tilting their heads. Otherwise, they have to tilt their (like we usually kiss) to avoid clumsy bumping of foreheads.
Eyes: Are the eyes open or closed? If the eyes are open, there’s an implied awkwardness and if they’re closed, we can assume that it’s an affectionate or tender kiss. If one character kisses another out of the blue, you could indicate that the stunned character doesn’t close their eyes to show the awkwardness of the kiss. You can also use eye gaze to indicate that the characters are about to kiss. If one character notices the other affectionately looking at them, and they lock eyes, there might be a kiss coming.
Lips: Oh yes! The lips! Lips are central to the whole kissing scene unless you say that your story’s characters are aliens and they don’t have lips? You have to describe the lips, talk about how soft, smooth or chapped they are. You can also write about lipstick or write about whether the characters are good kissers.
Tongues: I think there’s a line you cross with tongues. Simple, quick, or first kisses usually don’t include tongue. For erotic stories though, tongues are normal, but I wouldn’t relish reading a kissing scene with such kind of description.
Hands and Touch: The position of the hands can convey a message. Where are the hands? Wrapped around the lover’s waist, faces, caressing the hair? Again, by design, you could have the hands softly clenched and not holding to anything to imply an awkward or surprise kiss. You could also have one character’s hands all over the body of the other character. And when you want to transition from a mere kiss to a sex scene, the hands can start to slither down the other character’s back or starts to touch sensitive places.
Noses: Noses are invading appendages that get in the way of perfect kissing. Henceforth, no kiss is perfect so don’t write them that way. Noses will always get in the way. Even when your characters tilt their heads, noses can still brush the side of their faces. Now, your characters will probably not notice them (unless they’re the type to notice everything) unless they have an awkward kiss.
Breathing and Heartbeat: Breathing and heart rate indicate intensity. A racing heart or rapid breathing usually works, you can also indicate that a character had to take a breath to indicate that it was a long kiss.
Bodies: No body language without bodies, right? You can indicate whether the characters are pulling closer or pushing away or whether they are clenched tight or flowing loosely.
Leaning in: One character has to take the lead, lean in to initiate the kiss. But I love it when there’s some nice awkwardness, then they both slowly lean together and… mwah! We have our kiss.
Using Metaphors and Similes and No Clichés
Is it necessary that I define metaphors and similes? Well… you never know how convenient such obvious explanations can be.
“A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t literally true but helps explain an idea or make a comparison.”
“A simile compares two things that share a common feature. The words “as” and “like” are used to compare the two things.”
Metaphors and similes help you make your story lovelier and they help you seize the reader’s attention. By using these two, you avoid using simple and boring technical descriptions. It’s like painting Picassos without doing much by figuratively describing the characters, their actions, and the scenes.
Although metaphors and similes help you spice up your writing style, they can fill your writing with lots of clichés. You must use them in the right proportions; too many of these metaphors and similes will make your writing way too theatrical. You’d be lucky if your leaders didn’t notice that you just added too many spices; otherwise, they’d just drop your story and move on to something else.
Try to come up with your own metaphors and similes to avoid littering your writing with clichés. Your readers are not waiting to read something so clichéd like:
- Her lips, sweet like morning dew. [Simile].
- Judy’s lips were like summer rain. [Simile].
- She fell in love with Johnny, the bad apple. [Metaphor].
How to Write a Kissing Scene in Steps
1. Set up the Perfect Scene
You have to set the right tone for the kiss. Make sure the characters have chemistry, you can make the characters have something in common—whether it’s morals, similar backstory, or similar aspirations. As they say, opposites attract, you can use different personalities to draw the characters to each other.
Whether you choose to write a kissing scene that is completely unexpected or a kiss that your reader can anticipate, you have to create the perfect moment. The two characters might discover that they both love Friends and have seen every episode of every season.
Or they love traveling, share similar political views, they both love hiking. Whatever can be used to bring the two characters together.
2. Introduce an Action That Will Eventually Culminate In a Kiss
The magnetic pulls have been created, now you have to set up moments that’ll lead to the kiss. You need to describe the moments that’ll culminate into the lips touching.
Do they bump into each other in the corridor? Are they on a couch watching tv?
3. Create the Awkwardness
So you’ve made the characters come together. Now you have to make them notice that they’re attracted to each other, and there should be an aura of awkwardness.
When you’re attracted to someone, you always want to be close to them, cuddle or kiss. However, there’s always this awkwardness that engulfs the first moment when you both realize you’re attracted to each other. You can utilize this in your kissing scene, it will make your readers relate as the scene might remind them of their own romantic experiences.
4. Up the Heat!
The kiss is upon us! Finally, the awkwardness is about to boil over to a kiss. The character—depending on their personalities or intensity of their feelings for the other—will either become super nervous or confident.
You can use things like rapid breathing, racing hearts, sweaty palms, et cetera. To rope the readers in, you have to use some of your romantic experiences or expectations. If you try to describe this part the way it goes down in movies, you’re going to ruin it—like 9 out of 10 times.
5. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!
Your characters are now ready to kiss. You have to make sure that moment of the kiss has to reflect a real-life kiss. To achieve this, you use descriptions that touch on all of the five senses: touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste.
In your description of the kiss, you can touch (lips, hands, bodies), the warmth of the characters’ mouths and body (if they are tightly embracing each other), the smell of their breath, and the tenderness and taste of their lips.
6. The Pull Away
The way the kiss ends can be determined by the way one of the characters felt about the kiss or by some random thing. Whatever it is, the kiss has to end.
If one character is surprised by the kiss and they don’t like it, they might push the other away. Or they might just pull away after a good long kiss.
Perhaps, something might interrupt them—someone walks in on them, a knock on the day, an overexcited dog attacks the lover.
Whatever happens, the kiss is over and the two have to endure the aftertaste. Was the kiss good? Did they like it? Does it worsen things or improve them?
The kiss might be a starting point of a great relationship or an end to a relationship that wasn’t supposed to go beyond the friendship phase.
How to Graft Dialogue into Kissing Scenes
Dialogue can play a big role in making your kissing scenes juicier and improve the flow of your kissing scene writing.
Dialogue is a fundamental element to the build-up; it adds to the heat of the moment and makes some silent implications on the characters’ feelings about the whole moment. I’m not about to dish you some sex education, but even in real life, it’s good to talk when you’re making love.
Have a look at how dialogue has been used as part of the build-up and the pull away.
Scene 1: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
[There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermi- one’s arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.
“Is this the moment?” Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. “OI! There’s a war going on here!” Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other. “I know, mate,” said Ron, who looked as though he had recently been hit on the back of the head with a Bludger, “so it’s now or never, isn’t it?”]
In this scene, Harry interrupted the kiss by reminding the two lovebirds of the ongoing war.
Scene 2: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
He bent down, his lips against her cheek, brushing it lightly—and still, that light touch sent shivers through her nerves, shivers that made her whole body tremble. “If you want me to stop, tell me now,” he whispered. When she still said nothing, he brushed his mouth against the hollow of her temple. “Or now.” He traced the line of her cheekbone. “Or now.” His lips were against hers.
But she had reached up and pulled him down to her, and the rest of his words were lost against her mouth. He kissed her gently, carefully, but it wasn’t gentleness she wanted, not now, not after all this time, and she knotted her fists in his shirt, pulling him harder against her. He groaned softly, low in his throat, and then his arms circled her, gathering her against him, and they rolled over on the grass, tangled together, still kissing.
Top 3 First Kiss Scenes in Books
Here are the best 3 kissing scenes from books. Obviously, there are better kissing scenes in other books that I haven’t encountered, but this is the list I came up with based on the ones I have read so far.
Kisses in books:
1. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett: Zorie and Lennon
“You want to know what I think?” Lennon says, head dipping lower as he tries to get level with my eyes. “I think that if the universe were trying to keep us apart, it’s doing a shitty job. Because otherwise, we wouldn’t be out here together.”
“I wish we weren’t!”
“No, you don’t,” he says firmly.
“Yes, I do. I wish I’d never come on this trip. I wish I didn’t know any of this, and I wish—”
Without warning, his mouth is on mine. He kisses me roughly. Completely unyielding. His hands are on the back of my head, holding me in place. And for a long, suspended moment, I’m frozen, unsure of whether I want to push him away. Then, all at once, heat spreads through me, and I thaw.
I kiss him back.
And, oh, it is good.
2. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Dimple and Rishi
Rishi reached out and casually tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear, and without meaning to, she sucked in a breath and leaned into his touch.
His brow cleared, and his eyes turned to honeyed fire as they drifted down to her lips, which, she noted, were now parted. It was like her body was this traitor, acting without her brain’s permission. Especially considering what you were thinking earlier, that annoying voice tried to interject. Are you seriously going to let hormones get the best of you when there are important things to consider?
But when Rishi dipped his head down and pressed his mouth to hers, his rough stubble scratching against her chin in the most delicious way, her brain shut up entirely. His arms wrapped around her waist, cinching her to him, and she put her hands in his hair, feeling the silken strands between her fingers.
3. The Cage by Megan Shepherd: Cassian and Cora
“His chin started to tilt towards hers. His lips parted. ‘I want to know what it feels like,’ he whispered. My god. He was going to kiss her, and it was so wrong, and so was how badly she wanted him to…She kissed him back, showing how a kiss was meant to be, though she hardly knew either. He learned fast. His people might not kiss, but she could tell by his heart thumping under her that he enjoyed it, that he responded to it the same way humans did.”
Kiss and Tell!
I can ramble on and jog about how to write a heart-melting kissing scene, but it all boils down to the masterly and sincerity of the writer.
A good kissing scene is not too flowery or a Hollywood-Esque, but one that reminds your readers of their own romantic experiences. The easiest way to make your kissing scene boring is cluttering it with clichés or trying to be King Solomon.
Whether you’re writing a purely romantic tale or not, an extraordinary kissing scene can win you some loyal readers.