The first kiss between the hero and heroine is a huge turning point for a romance story. Up until this point both the hero and heroine will have been denying their true feelings, casting smouldering looks and giving each other weird tingling sensations.
As the writer / author you will have been busy chucking a myriad of life obstacles at your characters, designed to keep them apart and to keep your reader guessing about when they will get their romance fix.
However, there will come a point in the story where the hero and heroine will suddenly find themselves in close proximity of each other. Hearts will start to gallop, hopes will get raised, temperatures will rise and your reader will be standing on their sofa, book in hand, screaming “JUST KISS HER!”
The first kiss is important for a number of reasons:
- It advances the plot.
- Gives the reader an indication of how strong the romance between these two characters is going to be. The reader may need to clear their social calendar for the next few evenings if the first kiss is sizzling (nothing worse than socializing when there is a hot romance unfolding in your book).
- Gives the reader some useful character insight, depending on the character POV.
- Sparks a change in the characters post kiss. They will want to overcome their life challenges and follow their heart after this.
Here are some things I think you should consider when writing this important part of a romance story:
- The need for awkwardness. An essential ingredient for any first kiss. I know the awkward first kiss might be regarded as a movie trope, but I think its real life. Praise to those authors who bring in a touch of reality to their character’s first kiss and don’t opt for the standard ‘their lips brushed against each other.’ When two different kissing styles come together you need an unplanned head bump or a clash of noses or some confusion about whether to keep eyes open or shut or a sweaty palms issue.
- Create random and potentially unromantic setting. The best first kisses are unexpected, unplanned and happen in the most unromantic settings. They happen when faces are close up and hearts are pounding inside chests. Think car parks, supermarket aisles, hall ways, getting furniture out of vans and doorways.
- Ensure characters talk nonsense in the kiss build up. I think this is a must for your characters. Who doesn’t talk gibberish when they are getting carried away with romantic tension?
- Urgency. Create a sense of urgency by giving one of your characters a ‘now or never’ feeling. They have to kiss them or it will be the end of their world.
- Kiss cannot go to plan. The first kiss can’t go to plan as this will drive your reader crazy. Make one of the characters step back in surprise or hesitate just a few seconds before the kiss happens. Also remember you have many types of kisses at your finger tips. You don’t have to go for a simple peck on the lips! Eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses are quite interesting and a break from the kissing norm.
- Limb check. Please think about arms, hands and legs when writing your first kiss. What are they doing whilst lips are locked? If you are going to have one character’s hand running through the other character’s hair bring in a touch of reality and make it get stuck in a hair tangle.
- Bring those senses to life. Remember to think about sight, smell, touch, sound and taste. Touch is important, although every character in romance books at the moment seems to have soft lips. With regards taste, think about lip balm or chapstick flavours.
- Kiss reality check. Make sure you have a reality check with your kissing scene. For example if one of your characters has just been eating crab sticks they will need to pop a mint before they go in for the first kiss. I once beta-read a writer’s draft novel and I had to point out to them that I would not appreciate crab stick breath on a first kiss!
- World around characters must disappear. Make sure in the build up to the kiss you described the world around them; birds tweeting, passing cars or busy shoppers etc. When your characters kiss make the world around them disappear; cue the silence and make them so wrapped up in each other that they wouldn’t even notice they are about to get run over by a bus.
- Think about post kiss. This is important. How does it end? Does one pull away first? Do they get interrupted? You must end it in such a way that your reader is left wanting more. Do not let it end naturally. Make it end abruptly and ignore the cries of frustration from your reader. This will make them keep reading for more!
I hope those of you out there writing a first kiss found my considerations useful.
Have a great day!