Where’s the Love?

It’s hard to talk about love without delving into the cheesy, the clinical, or the painfully awkward. (There’s a reason why the Literary Review has a “Bad Sex in Fiction” award.) So how do you write about romance without sounding like a total idiot?

Malinda Lo has a fantastic post about how to write a good kissing scene. She looks at a few examples of kissing in YA done well and examines how the writer managed to convey the right emotion. Lo is careful to look at the emotions going on behind the kisses and what they reveal about the people involved. One part I liked:

“This description brings up something that appears over and over in effective fictional kissing scenes: power. Not necessarily in a Fifty Shades of Gray way, but every time two people come together in a kiss, there is a physical and often emotional negotiation going on. Who is in control? Who is totally swooning? Are they both completely bonkers for each other? Or is one less bonkers than the other? This relationship negotiation occurs in every kiss and without it, the kiss can often feel flat.”

I love the reminder that there’s an emotional dynamic involved in kissing. It’s easy to focus on one character (especially if you’re writing in the first person or a close third) and forget that the kiss is happening to the other person as well.

Lots of other excellent advice here as well; make sure to click through and read the rest.

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