My first kiss

Two small children kissing.

Smoochie woochie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m in the process of editing the WIP, and I’m getting close to the most uncomfortable thing I’ve written thus far – the kissing scene.

Just thinking about it makes me curl my lip in discomfort.

I remember very clearly when I wrote this scene.  Initially, I had no plans for it.  I’m not against kissing scenes (or sex scenes) in books, as long as they serve the story and are character motivated.  (I do, however, have problems with body parts represented with substitute words – “his manhood” – really?  But that’s a discussion for another day.)

Sometimes, I think these scenes are just thrown in because the writer believes the readers want the intimacy.  And they do.  But I fully believe encounters can be intimate in other ways – in soft glances, a touch on the arm, or unrequited longing – emotions we can all invest in because we relate to them in a primal way.

But, in fact, the longing is the sweetest part.  The story builds, and the characters hold that anticipation inside, and the reader feels the angst as well.  But as I reached the end of the book, I realized the characters deserved a moment to release that pent-up emotion.

So I found myself in the uncomfortable position of writing my first kissing scene.

I don’t know why this was so hard for me.  I’ve written about death, racism, natural disaster – none of which inspired such nauseous feelings.

And I’m not exactly a delicate flower.  In fact, I’m quite comfortable discussing desires that most people find taboo – mainly because I find it ridiculous that as a woman I’m not supposed to have those yearnings, a timeworn social standard left over from 1945.  (Unless of course, you are dancing with girlfriends at a club, in which case every schmuck in the room seems to think you desperately want to booty grind with him.  But I digress.)

I also feel intimacy is very personal.  And this scene was delicate.  I was so afraid to screw it up.

I wanted to honor the longing the characters felt throughout the book, without making the act cheap and cliché.  And as I watched it unfold, it felt almost wrong to be there with them.  It was too voyeuristic for me.  And clearly, it tested my own boundaries.

And I’m hoping that means that it worked.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

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  1. Picture book writers don’t have this problem. But I do sympathize. Good luck!


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