Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kiss and Tell

I recently wrote a first kiss scene in CM that makes me giddy because it was, to put it simply, awful—as in, awful for my characters. No way would I be giddy if it were awfully written! (I hope it’s not awfully written, at least.) Anyway, once that giddiness died down a little, I started thinking about first kisses in other books I’ve written—whether it’s the first kiss between two characters or a character’s first kiss ever—and noticed a startling trend:

They’re all awful.

And no, when I say awful, I do not mean it in the *oh, that sucked, let’s not do it again* way:

I mean it in much more epic ways. Perhaps my characters have been forced to endure a magic-induced lip-lock:

Perhaps one of my characters is kissing somebody who’s supposed to be an enemy, or who has murdering tendencies, or who turns out to be a freaky supernatural creature, or who's—gasp—all three:

Heck, perhaps a character of mine isn’t even aware that the kisser is someone else entirely! (The word disguise has a much more entertaining meaning when you’re writing a fantasy, after all.):

…amongst other examples. (Yes, even more than this. I am that mean to my characters.)

Not all of my books will feature awful first kisses. There’s one for sure out of the…ummmm…hundred or so WIPs in my head that will actually be quite sweet. Plus, there’s the handful of book ideas that—avert your eyes, romance fanatics!—will feature no kissing at all. Still, at this point, with a nice chunk of books already under my belt, it’s kind of hard to deny that this is one of my reoccurring themes as a writer.

Now, with that established, I can’t help but wonder…am I the only writer here who has heaps of fun scarring characters via kissing? Like, repeatedly? While I’ve seen a few others make their characters endure awful first kisses, they have just as many, if not more, enjoy first kisses that result in blaring trumpets, unlicensed rockets, and tap-dancing puppies. No therapy sessions necessary for the memory of their first mack-a-thon.

I realize that is likely because a pair of characters have had so much tension brewing between them throughout a book—several books, sometimes—that a mind-blowingly awesome first kiss is not just a reward for them, but readers. But still…that doesn’t seem as entertaining as horrifying them to me, whether that horror is made evident in the moment or later, in retrospect.

Of course, there’s a good chance I’m biased. I’ve been aware for a long time that I’m more sadistic than not as a writer, despite how comedic my books can be. (Heck, probably because they’re comedic. After all, as Erma Bombeck once said, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”) I experience an unhealthy amount of glee whenever doing something as cruel as killing, crippling, or confounding my characters, so why not get the same rush by ruining their first kisses, too?

There’s also a good chance that I’m not just biased, but crazy, so make of this post what you will.


*Yes, I realize this post is full of Buffy images. Buffy-sponsored bribery has been helping me write and read lately. That alone makes the show worthy of being spotlighted, even in a way as random as this. Deal.

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