Ava Jae

Obsessive writer. Insatiable reader. Perfectionistic Artist.

Writability: How to Write Awesome Kiss Scenes

“Stop.
Stop time.
Stop the world.
Stop everything for the moment he crosses the room and pulls me into his arms and pins me against the wall and I’m spinning and standing and not even breathing but I’m alive so alive so very very alive
and he’s kissing me.” 

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (Pages 316-317)

My characters like kissing. Some more than others, but amongst my characters at least, it’s a well-known fact that kissing is fun.

Kissing, as it turns out, is also fun to write (coincidence? I think not), but when someone on Twitter asked me for tips for writing good kissing scenes, I realized I’d somehow managed to neglect this topic here on Writability. What. An. Oversight.

I’m remedying that right now.

When it comes to books, kissing scenes tend to be significant for one reason or another. Whether it’s a first kiss, a make up kiss, a crap we shouldn’t have done that (but we really wanted to) kiss, a love-declaring kiss or a kissing because we have to but wait I actually like this kiss (or something else entirely), kissing, in novels, tend to be pretty big turning points for characters.

The best kisses, I’ve found, are rife with meaning. What makes them so fun to read and write isn’t just that the characters are mashing their lips together (though don’t get me wrong—that’s fun too), it’s the implications behind the kiss. Whether it’s theyes! Finally they’re together! or noooo you two aren’t supposed to make out! what makes kissing so fun to read and write is that it means something.

Now, that’s not to say that your characters can’t ever kiss just to show affection, or because they just can’t keep their faces off each other (both are valid reasons for lip-smooshing). But chances are, in writing and in reading, the kisses that get the most page time and in-depth description are the ones that are significant for one reason or another.

As far as the actual writing and description of said kissing goes, it really depends 100% on you and your book. Whether you’re writing YA, NA or even Adult, how much description you go into completely depends on what you’re comfortable with and what’s right for the book. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, for example, completely glosses over the kissing and sex, barely getting into any description at all—which is totally okay. Ignite Me and Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi, meanwhile, go into way more description and include a lot of metaphors and poetic language and those make out scenes last several pages. Let it be known Ignite Me and Unravel Me have some of my favorite YA kisses ever. Which is why I shared that one above.

Anyway.

The important thing to pay attention to while writing kiss scenes is what the kiss means for your characters (especially your POV character). If your character is kissing some random stranger at a party and thinking about what a terrible kisser the partner is, that’s just as important to note as a love-declaring let’s be alone together kiss. Even if your characters don’t know what this kiss means, just that they’re kissing and they like it (or not), it’s important to get that across to your readers.

So next time your characters start getting it on, make sure you take some time to think about the significance behind their physical togetherness. Oftentimes an extra spike of meaning into an already awesome kiss can be exactly what you need to take it to the next level.

What books have some of your favorite kisses?

Today at my grad school orientation

  • Icebreaker leader: Ok, the next trivia question is open ended. Your group has 10 minutes to list as many Harry Potter characters as you can.
  • Me: MY TIME HAS COME.

The burden of debt has become the lens through which I see my workplace, and it is rapidly altering my view of my profession. I can no longer fulfill my classroom duties without wondering if the ultimate price, for many of my students, is a form of indenture. This is not an extreme way of putting it. After all, the indentured have to go into debt in order to find work, and their wages are then used to pay off the debts. I have concluded that it is immoral to expect young people to privately debt-finance a basic social good like education, especially if we are telling them that a college degree is their passport to a livelihood that is increasingly thin on the ground.

NYU Professor: Are Student Loans Immoral? - The Daily Beast (via ronmarks)

For Thursday Thought: Worth thinking about. I don’t believe not going to college is the answer, but I also don’t think it should cost this much.

(via katebrauning)

(via katebrauning)

What I’m sure of is that it’s dangerous to tell women that the goal of a relationship, the only way for a relationship to be “real” is to get married. And I know that telling a girl that sexuality is only about intercourse is dangerous. I know that letting sex be a stand in for validating a teen relationship is dangerous. I know that I don’t want to see relationships, especially for teen girls, take only one shape, over and over, because reinforcing an idea with such a specific prescription is hard on all of us. And we have enough stories we tell about teen girls and the boxes they’re allowed to sit in. We don’t need any more.

The fact is, the only way to really make the superhero universe look like America (and by extension, the world) is to create fresh, new heroes who represent us in all our vibrant diversity, with origin stories that are authentic to their identities.

The burden of debt has become the lens through which I see my workplace, and it is rapidly altering my view of my profession. I can no longer fulfill my classroom duties without wondering if the ultimate price, for many of my students, is a form of indenture. This is not an extreme way of putting it. After all, the indentured have to go into debt in order to find work, and their wages are then used to pay off the debts. I have concluded that it is immoral to expect young people to privately debt-finance a basic social good like education, especially if we are telling them that a college degree is their passport to a livelihood that is increasingly thin on the ground.

Writability: On Prioritizing Your Time

NOTE: There’s still time to enter the third fixing the first page critique giveaway! Do the thing with the rafflecopter by 11:59 PM EST on Friday (8/22/14) for a chance to win a public critique right here on Writability! 

Sometimes, life gets busy. There’s work, schoolwork, parenting work, house work, writing work, marketing work and life stuff, sometimes all rolled up into a week, or a day. And sometimes, finding the time to get that writing work done can be a massive struggle. 

It inevitably happens to all of us at some point or another. 

The key, I’ve found, to consistently keeping up with everything and finding time to write is to carefully prioritize your time. I tend to break things up by hard and soft deadlines. 

My hard deadlines are ones that I need to have done by a certain date. This is usually something that someone else is expecting, whether it’s school work, internship work, a revision, pre-scheduled blog posts/vlogs etc. These are deadlines that generally, I can’t move. If I miss them, there will likely be repercussions. 

Soft deadlines are ones I usually set myself. These are deadlines that I’d like to get done by a certain time, but if need be, I can move them. These are tasks I can put aside for a day or two without having to worry about it. 

Hard deadlines I try to get done first. Because I’m a person that likes to schedule my days, I usually have a to-do list of things that need to be done and things I’d like to get done. I often make sure to check off all the hard deadline items first before I worry about the soft deadlines. 

This is something I had to learn the hard way: the fact of the matter is, some days, writing can’t be a top priority. Some days there’s too much life stuff and work stuff and family stuff and health stuff and everything else to make much writing progress, and you know what? That’s okay. You don’t need to kill yourself to get your daily writing in and you don’t need to write every single day to call wt;

Because other days you will have the time, or some time at least, and those are the days where you can really capitalize on that time to get writing work done. You just have to make sure to get your butt in the chair and do it. 

Do you prioritize your time to try to get your writing work done?

Date someone who would rather watch your favorite movie with you then go to a party on Friday night. Date someone who will share their food with you even though you said you didn’t want any. Date someone who will warm your hands in the winter and kiss your pink nose. Date someone who will text you they love you at 2am and at 9pm. Date someone who will let you change the station in the car when they’re driving. Date someone who can make you smile when you would rather die. Date someone who makes your insides feel like you’ve just downed a bottle of vodka. Date someone who makes you better.

Unknown
(via bl-ossomed)

Date someone who might possibly let you drive their Camaro even if it is only after their clutch leg is tired from driving 5100 miles already

(via maggie-stiefvater)

(Source: jessielou24, via maggie-stiefvater)

45 Things I Want to See More of in Stories

elumish:

  1. Characters with disabilities
  2. Soul mates with the issues of being stuck with someone for the rest of your life
  3. Soul mates where people end up getting outed against their will
  4. Soul mates for non-traditional-romantic relationships
  5. Functional families
  6. Functional non-romantic…

I once had to say this on a show many years ago, and I truly believe it: Loneliness is a choice. I like to be alone; I’m more comfortable alone. But I do recognise that I take it too far sometimes and so I try to force myself to keep up with being sociable. I just am a bit of a lone ranger; I always have been. But I don’t believe that necessarily has to translate to being lonely. You can be lonely in a crowd of a thousand people. I can be in a hotel room on my own, and not feel lonely. It all comes down to how comfortable you are with who you are in the silence.

—Gillian Anderson (via cyberqueer)

(Source: allweare-juststories, via wordpainting)

So I’ve started doing this thing where when I meet people in person, I tell them I’m a writer. And this is why you might consider doing the same. 

Do YOU tell people you’re a writer?

Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control. We can love and care for others but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends. We can assist them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, not on our wishes.

Jack Kornfield (via thecalminside)

A true lesson to learn.

(via dream-big-stay-true)

Yes.

(via wordpainting)

(via wordpainting)