Monday, March 25, 2013

A kiss is just a kiss?

Back in highschool, I was in the choir. Okay, busted, I was in a lot of things. I'm a bit of a joiner. No is not my favorite word. Anyway, in choir, we once sang a song made popular at the time by Cher's remake.

"If he loves you so
Its in his kiss!
(That's where it is!)"

Is it?

I kind of think so. Like so many little things in writing, this can translate to your story, too. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of kisses, some of which you've probably experienced, and in writing you can show a character's development using all interactions, even kisses.

Hundreds of kisses

Probably, you think I'm exaggerating since you're thinking of the two kisses they all kind of get lumped into when you're catagorizing. There's the platonic kiss (peck) you might bestow on a friend or family member. A quick smooch, no tongue, just a hey-how-ya-doin brushing of lips against skin. Then we have the romantic kiss...often including tongue, sometimes not, but always that little zing of electricity which makes us smile like goofy fools.

But those two big categories break down into tons of tiny ones. There's the first kiss, that almost shy invitation which may or may not be returned. There's the angry kiss, lips slanting and fighting for dominance. There's the goodbye kiss, tasting of tears and endings.

You can tell us the kiss was angry but have you shown it? In your lifetime, a kiss probably communicated more about your relationship to the person on the receiving end of it...just as their kiss tells you volumes.

Test Kisses

So, this is a real life story and shows how much publishing has taken over my brain, sadly. One drunken evening (yes, I have those, rarely) I was spending time with a guy that I'd previously dated. I proudly proclaimed that I was finally in a position mentally that I wouldn't react to him.

Fortunatly, the guy in question was wiser than I, and pointed out kissing, in general, is enjoyable.

So regardless of my emotional walls, chances were good I would find kissing pleasant. Can you, though, tell a lot about how a person feels about you from a kiss?

I really think you can. You can, even though my test was a very lame (Let's blame it on alcohol.) way to gauge the feelings involved, tell a lot about how you feel and the other person feels from just that tiny of an interaction. Are they hungry for your touch, a little breathless, hands shaking?

Probably not an indicator they don't care if they're reacting like that. Some part of them does...even if it's below the belt.

Do they 'feel' distant? Did they break from the kiss to chat about the weather?

Have you seen He's Just Not That Into You?

Building a Bridge

Nonverbal communication makes up 90% of human communcation, not verbal (according to various sources online and in some of my classes) meaning a lot is going on in just how we move, touch, and the expressions on our faces. Ditto for romance, whether on the page or in reality.

If someone is attracted to you, they touch you. I'm not talking about grinding into you like a dog in heat, although this might sometimes be the case, I'm talking about little things. Touching your arm to get your attention. Putting a hand behind your back to guide you. Even accidental touches, grazing your hand when passing something, can communicate more than any epic speech.

(the idea is supported by a study - Burgoon, J. K. (1991). Relational message interpretations of touch, conversational distance, and posture. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 15, 233-259.)

In real life, this means that if they're giving you closed body posture (arms folded together, leaning away, etc) chances are good we're back to He's Just Not That Into You territory. Are they touching you, leaning in, invading your personal space? Maybe they're telling you something more than about their vacation.

In your writing, you should show this build up, as it's part of the dance. Men shaking hands can be a sign of trust. A woman who laughs and touches your arm without noticing she's doing it may be signalling, even if she doesn't mean to, attraction.

Making that kiss all the more powerful.

So, is it in his kiss?

Well, if it's not, perhaps you might want to have a chat.

Happy Writing!

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