The Suck Face Kiss Has Consequences – How’s my hero or heroine’s kiss? Being a romantic suspense writer, I obsess about kissing. Knowing how others view kissing can help our characters become better kissers.
When it comes to kissing, there’s a few rules. Resist the urge to superimpose your own style of kissing on your characters. Before I write a scene in which a kiss is given, I put kissing in a cultural perspective. It helps me set the tone for my protag’s kiss. Kissing has consequences, you know?
It’s not the kiss that sets the tone for readers: it’s the relationship dynamic. Observe the guy to Condi’s right in the photo (right). He looks concerned. This kiss is pregnant with implicit meaning. “Really,” he’s saying, chagrined, “let’s keep this light, fellas.” “Chill, dude,” Condi is saying, “it won’t last.” The world experienced President Bush’s and Prince Abdullah’s kiss. Readers experience your protag’s kiss, so don’t make them feel like strange voyeurs or onlookers. They’re not. They’re in there with your protag, kissing away.
The French Kiss: It’s Not How but Why – The French kiss can turn off readers. Let’s say your protag gets carried away. The French kiss is “wet, moist, deep.” Your protag’s tongue shot into someone’s mouth, ear, navel, etc. What if, instead, you focused on your protag’s response to the kiss (assuming she or he enjoys a French kiss)? Readers know how to French kiss. They don’t want to taste the saliva. They want to know how it makes your protag feel. Do her toes curl? Does she see blue lights? Come on, you’re a writer. Put some art into that French kiss.
One of my favorite ways to handle a kiss is to find dangerous places and/or situations in which to kiss and then put my characters in them. I have friends who think it’s a challenge to kiss in department store windows with everyone looking on. For example, one friend used to sneak kisses in the window of the Gap, on New York’s W. 85th, with hundreds of people walking by and gawking. But what about Guanajuato, Mexico, where kissing in public has been banned? If your protag wanted that kiss, had to have it, but would be arrested for taking it, how much more risky–and rewarding–would it seem than being kissed in the display window at the Gap on W. 85th?
It’s hard to imagine anyone kissing in public in Saudi Arabia, where it can earn your protag a lashing, and I’m not talking about a tongue lashing. President Bush got away with it because it’s a cultural custom, but the consequences of having your protag kiss in public in Saudi Arabia could be dire. So . . . I’ve arranged to have my protag do it. In my next novel, Excess, set in Dubai, I’m putting my characters in jeopardy by having them steal a kiss in public.
What’s your protag’s favorite or least favorite places and ways to kiss? Your ideas for writing better kisses? I’d love to know.