The Drafts Folder: On Writing Kisses

Since I only do my Impressions post every other Wednesday, I thought I’d keep things interesting and dig into my drafts and random blog titles I’ve found written in my planner over the past couple of years. There are a lot of them, and I don’t even know what some of them were supposed to be about, so they’ll be alternating with the Impressions post until I’ve finished amusing myself with them. And maybe you, if I’m lucky.

I think the pandemic must have eaten my brain two years ago and spit out some of these post ideas. The first was for an unnamed and unmentioned Short Story, the second was wonderings about a lady I kept seeing on book covers (I’m assuming because, again, I was not specific in my thoughts), and the third was about a 4 book series I loved while growing up (no clue why I thought I deserved a whole post to itself). Number 4 is, apparently, supposed to be about my thoughts on writing kisses.

…I wasn’t even aware I had thoughts, then or now, about writing kisses.

Well, this will be interesting.

I had to dig into my 2020 calendar and memories (honestly, isn’t everything post March 2020 kind of a blur? I can’t differentiate the years like I usually can) to discover I was posting Queen of the Garden of Girls (inspired by Beauty and the Beast and hitting a little to close to home as it involved a few people essentially being locked up in a manor) and writing Sisters of String and Glass (inspired by Cinderella, and a bit of The Little Mermaid and Rapunzel). I suppose it makes sense I was thinking about writing kisses as both involve a romance.

But I’m not sure how many kisses I’ve written since, and I definitely don’t remember any specific thoughts I had about writing them. I don’t even know how many kisses there were in Queen and Sisters There are two things I’ve written since finishing the first draft for Sisters and both did involve a couple of kisses, but, nope, no thoughts spring to mind.

I do know I hate writing kisses. They can go in so many directions. They can focus on what the couples’ lips feel like. They can turn to what the characters are feeling in the moment. They can be surprising. They can be highly anticipated. They can be sweet and slow. They can be fast pecks that maybe leaves one partner left wanting. They can be absolutely repulsive.

I can’t say I’ve mastered the art of kissing (in writing, I mean), but, the more I write them, the more comfortable I feel with the style of kissing I seem to have settled on. I like to approach writing kisses with intention. I don’t like having my characters kiss just to kiss. No, there must be a reason. Writing stories liberally peppered with kisses just makes such an intimate act feel a little cheapened with the sheer volume, and I just don’t feel comfortable writing that.

For years, I’ve agonized over writing kisses. Initially it was due to lack of experience, then it morphed into feeling like it was such a private moment I felt like I was intruding on my characters. Over time I’ve settled on finding other ways of showing intimacy, so writing kisses isn’t such a big deal anymore. But it involved a lot of realizing I can only do things my way, no matter what sells. I’m quite happy about that because, while I don’t know how it comes off to readers, to me and my heart the couples just feel more connected.

But it was difficult growing up in the Western world where kisses, and other things, are, well, what they are. I feel like they’re intense and they strip people bare and exist because that’s what people like. Honestly, I feel quite uncomfortable with a lot of it, especially when seeing it instead of reading it. The intimacy is almost too much for this quite happily reserved person. Recently, my family and I have been watching Chinese romantic dramas (I’m Chinese American) and the romance and intimate moments are much more up my alley, so it’s vastly relieved a lot of pressure I’ve put on myself to replicate those intimate scenes I’ve read that just make me squirm. Some shows have had almost no kissing, but the looks they give each other…

Kisses are great and they can be quite sweet to read, but a little more uncomfortable for me to read and sometimes write. I prefer a more understated but just as powerful approach to intimacy and realizing that has made it a whole lot easier for me to write kisses. Every writer has their own style, and I’m incredibly relieved to have found mine because I do enjoy writing a bit of romance into my stories.

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4 thoughts on “The Drafts Folder: On Writing Kisses

  1. I love writing kisses, especially because there’s such a huge range of meaning and motivation behind them. Not to mention, the act itself can vary from light and tingly to heavy and wet, and I have a lot of fun depicting the complexity of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I had as much fun writing them as you do! They’re fun to imagine, but I just can’t translate it into written words as well as I would like. Though it is incredible how they’re used in so many different ways.

      Liked by 1 person

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