Friday, February 24, 2012

On kissing and the hardest parts

Normally, I like to choose blog contest winners at random. The process usually involves a bewildered housemate or pet, and contains an element of surprise for everyone (particularly if the aforementioned housemate or pet ingests one of the little slips of paper on which I've written contestants' names, and we must wait for it to pass through the digestive tract to determine a winner).

I decided to do things a little differently for this week's contest. Readers were asked to share things that make them feel "fluttery" for a chance to win a signed copy of my soon-to-be-released romantic comedy, Believe it or Not.

I was so touched by Julie Glover's entry, that I'm going to just award the prize to her. Here's what she wrote:
Julie Glover wrote...
I'm not at my fluttierest at the moment, having been diagnosed with mononucleosis (the "kissing disease" which means I can't kiss for a while! Ugh). But here's the list from the sick patient's perspective:
* My adolescent son comes in every day to ask if I'm feeling better and gives me a hug. Flutter.
* My sister sent me a box of chicken soup mixes purchased from Soups Online. Flutter.
* My husband does double duty as hard worker by day and Superdad by night, then crawls into bed to be my much-needed body heater. Double flutter.
* I love my current WIP. When I give others the elevator pitch, it piques interest. Yeah, me. Will flutter when published and opening my own boatload box of books.

Thanks for sharing yours, Tawna. Congrats on the book. Looking forward to reading it!

Besides the fact that her list was touchingly sweet and I feel bad for anyone who's sick, I'm most sympathetic to the fact that she can't kiss for awhile.  


The thought of that makes me cry a little.

You could walk into my house and remove every bottle of wine from my wine rack and every book from my bookshelves and every sex toy from the basket under the bed before rounding up all my pets and taking them to live at a boarding kennel for the week and it STILL wouldn't equal the horror of not being able to to kiss.

Admittedly, I've gotten spoiled by the pleasure of routinely kissing someone who's ridiculously, toe-curlingly good at it, but still. Kissing is one of life's greatest pleasures, hands down. Or hands up, depending on your preference.

The funny thing is that I struggle a bit when I write kissing scenes. Believe it or Not contains a love scene that spans nearly 20 pages if you count foreplay and smooching (and why wouldn't you count those? They're the best parts!) I love to write scenes that involve breathless groping, frantic tearing of clothing, and all the climactic moments that come next (pun intended, of course).

But if you've read my love scenes, you know that while they're very detailed, I avoid being explicit. You'll never catch me using flowery terms for genitalia or clinical words for bodily functions. Though I go to great lengths to give an elaborate blow-by-blow (snicker), I prefer to leave specifics to the reader's imagination.

Frankly, I think it's hotter that way.

There's something different about writing kissing scenes though. I always struggle with the balance between details (What's he doing with his tongue? How is she tilting her head? Where are his hands?) and the feelings tied to the action. I'm not sure why it's easier for me to find that balance once clothes start flying off. Perhaps it's the line between sweetness and passion, or maybe it's just that kissing can be a lot more intimate than actual penetration when it comes right down to it (snicker).

What do you look for in kissing scenes, whether reading or writing them? Do you have a preference in the level of detail provided? And most importantly, do you share my firm belief that it would be preferable to remove all the skin from your thigh with a carrot peeler and rub the wound with sea salt than go more than a few days without kissing? Please share!

And congratulations to Julie Glover! Send your snail mail address to me at tawnafenske at yahoo dot com, and I'll hook you up with a signed copy of Believe it or Not to read on your sickbed.

Thanks to everyone who played the fluttery game!


Unknown said...

Is it very odd that I don't like kissing? I love holding hands and snuggling and touching. But I keep being surprised at how slippery it feels to kiss and that it doesn't taste anything. Am I doing something wrong?

Yes. I'm not very experienced. That's what happens when you don't realise boys aren't your thing until you're 21.

Anonymous said...


I'm not a romance writer at all. I can write and show chemistry and tension between a pair you want to be together and desperation in a pair that one person is obsessed over the other but when it comes to kissing or anything more exotic then that I find myself stuck. It is just such a hot and magical moment in my head but when it comes to conveying that on paper it seems weird and alienated. So I normally don't go into those details to much. Really wish I could polish that skill tho. Would make my novels a lot more spicy.

Patrick Alan said...

I didn't think you meant to put 'and' in the post title, at first.

Matthew MacNish said...

Julie's answers sure were awesome.

Karin said...

Those are definitely the hardest parts and I when I write stuff like that I make sure I only write what I'd lika to read.

It was great fun, though when one of the writing classes I once took started disscussing a love scene. All the details, every little move and should the hand be there at all and how did he get into her tight jeans if he didn't unzip them first etc. The discussion went on and on for quite a while (netbased only) and nobody knew who the others were and it was all very educational and useful, in many ways.

Linda G. said...

Ha! My eyes skimmed right over that "and" in the title of the post at first. ;)

Sierra said...

I'm a big fan of leaving it to the imagination. Some details are good, but I'd rather hear about how it's making the characters feel than the precise description of how they're being felt (up).

Does that make sense?

And yes, I'm right there with you on kissing. When Himself or I have gotten sick, we've managed about 6 hours tops of well-intentioned not-kissing.

Julie Glover said...

It's been a long day, and what a delightful surprise to open up your blog post and see this! Thank you so much, Tawna.

As to kissing, I recently asked my husband if we can go parking and make out when the mono is all over. We'll definitely have some make-up smooching to do.

I love kissing scenes, more than sex scenes. They are so tender and telling. I do keep waiting for someone romance novel to build into a great kissing scene, only to find out that Prince Charming has a python-sized tongue he has no idea how to properly wield or drools saliva like a drippy fountain. It's happened in real life, right? Seriously, though, I am really looking forward to reading all of the scenes in your book.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Julie!

And as for kissing, it depends on how long you've been with someone. The longer the relationship, the more routine the kisses.

I think that's why I enjoy writing young adult romance best. Each time I write a new kiss it's different for the young couple because it's new.