So in my contemporary YA work in progress, I’m finally finally at the point where the people I want to kiss, do.
I wrote a draft of that scene. And then reread it. And it was … meh.
I wanted the literary equivalent to fireworks, only less clichéd. I did not produce that. And though I know that great things are rarely achieved on the first try, I knew I needed help before having another go.
Whenever I get stuck on writing something, from kissing to opening lines to closing lines, I go back and consult the work of the experts that came before me.
Otherwise known as re-reading my favorite novels. It’s a rough part of the process, but so necessary.
So! Here I present some of the best kissing scenes I’ve come across. I’ve removed character names so as not to spoil anything for anyone–you must read all the stuff leading up to the kiss in order to really appreciate it!–but I’ve included links out to where each scene is from at the bottom.
Great Kissing Scene Number 1:
His dark eyes search mine. “What are we doing?” His voice is strained.
He’s so beautiful, so perfect. I’m dizzy. My heart pounds, my pulse races. I tilt my face toward his, and he answers with an identical slow tilt toward mine. He closes his eyes. Our lips brush lightly.
“If you ask me to kiss you, I will,” he says.
His fingers stroke the inside of my wrist, and I burst into flames.
“Kiss me,” I say.
We are kissing like crazy. Like our lives depend on it. His tongue slips inside my mouth, gently but demanding, and it’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced, and I suddenly understand why people describe kissing as melting because every square inch of my body dissolves into his. My fingers grip his hair, pulling him closer. My veins throb and my heart explodes. I have never wanted anyone like this before. Ever.
He pushes me backward and we’re lying down, making out in front of the children with their red balloons and the old men with their chess sets and the tourists with their laminated maps and I don’t care, I don’t care about any of that.
All I want is him.
The weight of his body on top of mine is extraordinary. I feel him–all of him–pressed against me, and I inhale his shaving cream, his shampoo, that extra scent that’s just…him. The most delicious smell I could ever imagine.
I want to breathe him, lick him, eat him, drink him. His lips taste like honey. His face has the slightest bit of stubble and it rubs my skin but I don’t care, I don’t care at all. It feels wonderful. His hands are everywhere, and it doesn’t matter that his mouth is already on top of mine, I want him closer closer closer.
Great Kissing Scene Number 2:
In a flash, we’re through the door, across the street and into the woods, running for no reason and laughing for no reason and totally out of breath and out of our minds when he catches me by my shirt, whips me around, and with one strong hand flat against my chest, he pushes me against a tree and kisses me so hard I go blind.
The blindness lasts just a second, then the colors start flooding into me: not through my eyes but right through my skin, replacing blood and bone, muscle and sinew, until I am redorangebluegreenpurpleyellow-redorangebluegreenpurpleyellow.
He pulls away and looks at me. “Fuck,” he says. “I’ve wanted to do that for so long.” His breath’s in my face. “So long. You’re just…” He doesn’t finish, instead he brushes my cheek with the back of his hand. The gesture is startling, atom-splitting, because it’s so unexpected, so tender. As is the look in his eyes. It makes my chest ache with joy, horses-plunging-into-rivers joy.
“God,” I whisper. “It’s happening.”
“Yeah, it is.”
I think the heart of every living thing is beating in my body.
I run my hands through his hair, finally, finally, then bring his head to mine and kiss him so hard our teeth collide, planets collide, kissing him now for each and every time we didn’t all summer long. I know absolutely everything about how to kiss him too, how to make his whole body tremble just from biting his lip, how to make him moan right inside my mouth by whispering his name, how to make his head fall back, his spine arch, how to make him groan through his teeth. It’s like I’ve taken every class there is on the subject. And even as I’m kissing him and kissing him and kissing him, I wish I were kissing him, wanting more, more, more, more, like I can’t get enough, never will be able to get enough.
Great Kissing Scene Number 3:
He turned toward me. His hand came up, fingers tangling in my hair, rough and tender, moving down across my cheek, tracing the line of my mouth.
The lights of the house spun blurred and magic as the lights of a carousel, there was a high singing note above the trees and the ivy was whirling with music so sweet I could hardly bear it … His mouth tasted of ice and whiskey.
If I had thought about it, I would have expected him to be a fairly crap kisser, in a meticulous kind of way. The fierceness of him took my breath away. When we pulled apart, I don’t know how much later, my heart was running wild.
Great Kissing Scene Number 4:
For a second his dark eyes are on mine, and he’s quiet. Then he touches my face and leans in close, brushing my lips with his. The river roars and I feel its spray on my ankles. He grins and presses his mouth to mine.
I tense up at first, unsure of myself, so when he pulls away, I’m sure I did something wrong, or badly. But he takes my face in his hands, his fingers strong against my skin, and kisses me again, firmer this time, more certain. I wrap an arm around him, sliding my hand up his neck and into his short hair.
For a few minutes we kiss, deep in the chasm, with the roar of water all around us. And when we rise, hand in hand, I realize that if we had both chosen differently, we might have ended up doing the same thing, in a safer place, in gray clothes instead of black ones.
Great Kissing Scene Number 5:
“I don’t know any other way.” I can’t feel my mouth open, don’t feel the words coming out, but there they are, floating on the dark.
He says, “Let me show you.”
And then we’re kissing. Or at least, I think we’re kissing–I’ve only seen it done a couple of times, quick closed-mouth pecks at weddings or on formal occasions. But this isn’t like anything I’ve ever seen, or imagined, or even dreamed: This is like music or dancing but better than both. His mouth is slightly open so I open mine, too. His lips are soft, the same soft pressure as the quietly insistent voice in my head that keeps saying yes.
The warmth is only growing inside of me, waves of light swelling and breaking and making me feel like I’m floating. His fingers lace my hair, cup my neck and the back of my head, skim over my shoulders, and without thinking about it or meaning to, my hands find his chest, move over the heat of his skin, the bones of his shoulder blades like wingtips, the curve of his jaw, just stubbled with hair–all of it strange and unfamiliar and gloriously, deliciously new. My heart is drumming in my chest so hard it aches, but it’s the good kind of ache, like the feeling you get on the first day of real autumn, when the air is crisp and the leaves are all flaring at the edges and the wind smells just vaguely of smoke–like the end and the beginning of something all at once. Under my hand I swear I can feel his heart beating out a response, an immediate echo of mine, as though our bodies are speaking to each other.
And suddenly it’s all so ridiculously and stupidly clear I feel like laughing. This is what I want. This is the only thing I’ve ever wanted. Everything else–every single second of every single day that has come before this very moment, this kiss–has meant nothing.
Great Kissing Scene Number 6:
He holds my wrist for a long moment, looking at that birthmark. Then he lifts it to his mouth. And though his lips are soft and his kiss is gentle, it feels like a knife jamming into the electrical socket. It feels like the moment when I go live.
He kisses my wrist then moves upward, along the inside of my arm to the tickly crook of my elbow, to my armpit, to places that never seemed deserving of kisses. My breath grows ragged as his lips graze my shoulder blade now, stopping to drink at the pool of my clavicle before turning their attention to the cords of my neck, to the area around the bandage. Parts of my body I never even realized existed come alive as the circuits click on.
When he finally kisses my mouth, everything goes oddly quiet, like the moment of silence between lightning and thunder. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi.
We kiss again. This next kiss is the kind that breaks open the sky. It steals my breath and gives it back. It shows me that every other kiss I’ve had in my life has been wrong.
I tangle my hands into that hair of his and pull him toward me. He cups the back of my neck, runs his fingers along the little outcropping of my vertebrae. Ping. Ping. Ping, go the electric shocks.
His hands circle my waist as he boosts me onto the table, so we are face-to-face, kissing hard now. My cardigan comes off. Then my t-shirt. Then his. His chest is smooth and cut and I bury my head in it, kissing down the indentation at his centerline. I’m unbuckling his belt, tugging down his jeans with hunger I don’t recognize…
… this last scene goes on past the kissing, but my characters are not there yet 🙂
So. What have we learned?
Be sensory And not just about the kiss. The spray on ankles. His shoulder blades like wingtips. His mouth tasted of ice and whiskey.
I love the element of surprise in the characters, whether it’s from someone who’s never been kissed or someone who didn’t know they would be kissing this particular person.
Joy! They finally get to kiss! “He grins and presses his mouth to mine” “It’s happening.” And I love the “horses-plunging-into-rivers joy”.
And of course, desire. Example 6 speaks for itself.
5 thoughts on “Learning from the Masters: Kissing Scenes”
wow, I love this post! I also am such a huge fan of your blog, I’m excited every week when I recieve a notification of your new posts through email! I’m actually an aspiring writer and I feel that I’ve really learned a lot from you! ❤️
Thank you so much! It makes me so happy to hear I’ve been helpful 🙂 Good luck to you!