You’ve reached that long-awaited kiss scene. There’s been suspense, yearning, and unbelievable tension. Now it's finally happening.
But how do you write a kiss scene that lives up to the expectations of the reader? What do you need to ensure both the readers and your characters are satisfied after what was an almost painful build up?
Like all scenes, you need to include the senses. However, when it comes to THE kiss, there are a few changes to the balance.
Unlike most other scenes, this is the most important sense, as it is heightened during passion. Touch will be the focus of a kiss scene. Hot breath, caressing lips, roaming hands – bring it all in, but don’t go overboard with tongue descriptions. Sure, there might be a tongue flickering in somewhere. Just don’t spend too much time on it. I don’t know about you, but that was the kind of stuff I wrote about in high school. And when I read it now, it makes me squirmy.
Phrases to think about:
Hot breath against skin/mouth
Fingers trailing against skin
Fingers threading through hair
Lips against lips/jaw/cheek/neck
Hands around waist
Arms around neck
Unless it’s important to the story, I wouldn’t suggest putting in tastes that aren’t universally enjoyed. Beans, seafood, morning breath, cigarettes (yes, I know, but not all your readers will be smokers) can probably be left out unless you want the kiss scene etched in your readers’ minds for all the wrong reasons. And if you’re going to mention a less common taste, it’s a good idea to have your other character know how it got there, either by seeing them eat it beforehand, or ask about it afterwards.
Some suggestions for pleasant tastes:
Beer (as a masculine choice)
Any to add?
Like taste, your characters’ scents should be universally pleasant. If you want some ideas for different flavours, do a google search on perfumes and colognes and see how creators describe their products. For something a little more unusual, try candle scents. There are dozens of smells to choose from. Just make sure that the smell matches the character – don’t go giving them an ocean spray perfume if they hate the sea.
Examples of candle scents (extensive list found here):
Stick with soft moans, sighs, murmurs, and groans from the characters involved, and that’s it. This is one of the few times in the story where background detail and grounding won’t be needed. A character in the middle of a passionate kiss isn’t going to notice a stove bubbling away in the kitchen, or a pigeon cooing on the terrace, or even people around them in a marketplace. Not if they’ve been waiting for this kiss for a long time.
This is probably the least important sense to a kiss scene. Hopefully your characters aren't going to see much for the majority of the moment - it'd be a bit awkward if they’re standing there with their eyes open. Describing the love interest’s dishevelled look between kisses is a treat for the reader. Loose collars, messy hair, flushed cheeks, and unfocussed eyes make for saucy reading.
Any other sensory details you could add?
Once the senses are done, character thoughts can be added. But remember, not a lot of thinking goes on during a kiss scene, and readers don’t want to be bombarded with too much internal monologuing. Select a subtle combination from the list above, add your own twists and preferences, slip in a few stray I can’t believe this is finally happening thoughts, and you have yourself that long-awaited kiss scene.