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October 2011

Reporter: Carol Moncado

Carol MoncadoCarol Moncado spends her time with her husband and four kids, teaching and writing romantic comedy in the Ozarks. She is Editor-in-Chief of Pentalk Community Blog, a member of ACFW, and MozArks ACFW. She will be published in a Christmas anthology (Hidden Brook Press, December 2012). Find her online.

Editor: Elizabeth Ludwig

Lisa LudwigElizabeth Ludwig is an award winning author, speaker and teacher, and often attends conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. She is the owner and editor of the popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book. To learn more about Elizabeth and her work, visit her.

Workshop 6: A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss

Julie Lessman opened the workshop with her rendition of As Time Goes By. But she and Ruth Axtell Morren (lower right) contend that a kiss is not just a kiss!

Twelve ways to amp up a kiss

With examples from their books, as well as a few others, they illustrated 12 points.

  1. What’s he thinking?Make the most of male internal monologue during the kiss. Romance readers want to know what the hero is thinking and feeling—what the reader hopes she can elicit from her hero.Julie Lessman
  2. Maximize the use of action beats. Julie (right) says overuse of attribution takes away from the action and immediacy of the scene.
  3. Make the most of touch/response. Remember the rush when you held the hand of your first love? So many emotions can be felt and conveyed without ever crossing CBA lines.
  4. Write a love scene from both the hero’s and heroine’s point of view. Julie contends it can be done and gives three rules:
    • Always double-space to indicate a change of POV.
    • Always begin the next POV with an action by the character whose POV is beginning.
    • Keep POV switches to a minimum in a scene and always flesh out each POV with several paragraphs or pages (i.e. never switch POVs every sentence or paragraph).
    Ruth Axtell
  5. Use all five senses. Ruth (right) said kissing is about more than just touch, but gives permission to shoot for four of the five.
  6. Use emotionally charged words to enhance the mood. The example uses words like: ravenous, took, by force, powerful, guttural, and ravage. With strong words like those Julie manages to take our breath—and the heroine’s—away.
  7. Write in an element of surprise for both the hero and heroine. A kiss that catches one or both off-guard is great for romantic tension!
  8. Expose desire in an unwilling character. When the hero or heroine is denying the attraction, exposing the attraction can be great!
  9. Make the kiss have devastating consequences. Are they the Montagues and Capulets? Are they both aware of what the kiss could cost? Using the idea of forbidden fruit can also up the tension between the two and in the story.
  10. Effective use of dialogue to escalate tension. Emotions such as anger, as well as rapid-fire dialogue without attribution, can escalate that romantic tension.
  11. Finally, never, ever forget it’s all about the chase! Keep the romantic tension throughout!
  12. Just for fun … the caveman scene. No one writes the caveman scene like Mary Connealy! Julie and Ruth pulled examples from their own books but also from Mary’s Sharpshooter in Petticoats that made everyone sigh as the (married!) couple finally kiss!

Out of all the workshops that weekend, I don’t think I heard any talked about more than this one! Next time, Julie and Ruth probably need to give out fans with their handouts and Hershey’s kisses.

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