Crafting the Perfect Kiss

Pucker up!

Pucker up!

I write romance. I read romance. I watch romance. I live romance. One of the biggest deals in romance is the first kiss, yet for the life of me I am not satisfied with the quality of the kissing scene in Wildflower Crown. I want them to be better than my previous novel, to set the stage for the rest of my books. I want to make women swoon! And men too, I guess, but I’m pretty sure they don’t swoon all that often.

Bro, stop breaking the forth wall as she cleans your teeth.

Oh yeah baby clean those teeth.

My problem is that my scenes appear too mechanical. I struggle with balancing describing what is actually happening and not having it read as “insert Tab A into slot B.” Maybe I’m the only one who will notice it, in the end, but if I get it smooth enough that when the person who crafted (which would be me) it is absorbed into the scene then I know I will have done a good job.

"I'm so wet right now." "So am I."

“I’m so wet right now.” “So am I.”

However, when I try to veer away from the mechanical and go towards the metaphorical, I end up making it sound ridiculous. Maybe this would be a little more forgivable in modern romance, where at least you can say “Electricity shot through her,” but I find myself stuck on this one scene thinking, “What the hell do I write now?”

“He leaned in and kissed her. Their lips came together gently, like two pillows smashing together. Her lips were soft as if he was rubbing his face against one of the aforementioned pillows. Heat spread through him like someone had dropped boiling fondue on his chest then washed it off with very warm water.”

Om nom nom give me that wittle tongue.

Om nom nom give me that wittle tongue.

Needless to say, the scene above will not be in the final draft, but I’ll be damned if you don’t read Wildflower Crown and think, “Oh well that was a nice kiss.” I’ve decided that to accomplish this, I won’t actually use the word “kiss” during the action. It was one of the many tips I found while Googling about, the best of which can be found here.

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My Writing Mentor

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I have been writing since I was in first grade. I started identifying as a writer in third grade, and in fifth grade I started doing it regularly. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I had finished a 50,000+ word “novel.” I kept writing, and I published my first novel in September.

I’m officially an author! It’s awesome, finally achieving this goal I’ve had all my life. I’m still just starting, but I’ve made about $40 so far. Yes, it’s not a lot, but that’s 4 pizzas I wouldn’t have been able to eat before publishing, and I’ll continue writing and continue building an audience and putting myself out there until it picks up, and I won’t give up. Because I honestly love writing. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Knowing that, some of you may be surprised to learn that in middle school, I hated English class. Absolutely hated it. Mrs. J was my English/history/7th grade teacher (it was a small school) and she installed a deep loathing of English class deep into my soul. Mrs. J, if you’re reading this, you suck. Seriously. I never remember hearing one nice word from her.

I worked hard in her class, at first. I admit that I sucked at history, but I loved writing, even non-fiction, and I remember specifically that we had an entire lesson on poetry that included filling out a whole huge packet on poems over the course of the semester. I wrote poem after poem, and I never got any praise or anything out of it. Mrs. J blatantly had favorites, and only they ever heard nice things from her.

Mrs. J, I’ll once again say that you suck. I was bullied in middle school, and she knew, and she still made no effort to be nice to me. She didn’t like my mom, and my family didn’t have money, so she hated me. She made me feel like an idiot in her class, and if it wasn’t for my 8th grade teacher sitting me down with my parents and telling me that my test scores indicated that I was a smart girl, I would have believed that I was stupid. So thanks, Mr. R, for being nice to me. A+ for you. I’m sorry about when I forgot you were in my living room last year and you heard me talking about sex with my boyfriend. My bad.

Going into high school, I didn’t have high hopes for English class. Freshman year was pretty boring, mostly Shakespeare and vocabulary words, but then sophomore year I had Mr. C. Mr. C, a writer himself, was one of those amazing teachers who actually enjoyed teaching. He wanted everyone to think and learn and grow as a person. His class was about discussions and expressing ourselves.

Mr. C was the first person who told me I was a good writer. He encouraged me to submit short stories for publishing (erm… still working on that…) and called me a wordsmith. In front of the whole class. I believe his exact wording was, “I may not be a wordsmith like Bethany, but…” Yeah. I freaked out. It’s probably the best compliment I’ve ever gotten. I put great effort into picking the right wording to make things sound just how I want them, and to have it recognized was amazing. He really gave me the encouragement to keep writing, even if he couldn’t revive my interest in the study of literature.

Has any one person significantly influenced your writing? If so, how?