Kiss the Girl

Recently on the internet, there was a list of the ten best movie kisses. I didn’t agree with most of them, made a list of my own, and thought long and hard about what makes a good kiss – in the movies, in reality, and in our books.

1) Emotion. The kiss in Return of the King is hot. Why? Because Aragorn and Arwen have been apart for so long, have been through so much to reach this moment. When he sucks in that breath and pulls her close, we all want to be in her shoes. We’ve invested ourselves in these characters (for three movies!) and we’re rooting for them. And isn’t that what we want our readers to feel about our characters?

2) Exotic locales or positions. The kiss in Spiderman is hot. You have her pull down the mask juuuust enough. He’s hanging upside down. It’s raining. Okay, there’s the whole, “He just saved my life” and the anticipation thing going, too, but she wouldn’t have tried to kiss her fiancé the same way in Spiderman 2 if the upside down element of the kiss hadn’t turned her on. Different is good. Play around with blocking, and you may have a kiss readers are talking about!

3) One liners. “You can break my wrist, but I’m still gonna kiss you.” Somebody scrape me off the floor. The kiss in Tomb Raider 2 isn’t that great but that line! And in To Have and Have not, with Bogey and Bacall. He asks, "Whadja do that for?" "Been wondering whether I'd like it," she says. After she kisses him again, she says, "It's even better when you help." Then there’s the king of one-liners, Han Solo. Han says to Leia, “You like me because I'm a scoundrel.”She retorts, “I don't like scoundrels. I like nice men.” Han leans in and assures her, “I'm a nice man.” Give your hero or heroine a smart-aleck remark and have your readers swooning.

4) Anticipation. I remember watching The Little Mermaid when my son was younger, and during the song, “Kiss the Girl,” I found myself leaning forward. The music drove the anticipation, as did the conflict. (Remember, she had to get Eric to kiss her to become human.) Another great anticipation scene is in Runaway Bride, when Richard Gere is standing in for Julia Roberts’s groom. The way they look at each other has everyone else in the room looking at them in concern. They feel it coming, too. Great kiss. Then there’s the one in Never Been Kissed, at the end on the pitcher’s mound. Sigh. And though it’s not a movie kiss, the first kiss of Ross and Rachel belongs in the Kiss Hall of Fame. Sexual tension twists us till we feel like we’ll explode if the lovers don’t kiss!

5) Passion. The kind that curls your toes, makes you squirm in your chair, makes you want to grab your significant other and lay one on him. You’d think this would be a given in love stories, on screen or in our books. Kisses need not always be ardent, but some of the best ones are. Witness, From Here to Eternity, The Quiet Man. You experience the hunger the characters have for each other.

If you as a writer can incorporate these elements in your writing, you’ll have readers puddling, sighing, and lining up to buy your next book.

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Nikki said...

Those are some great examples! And the first kiss is just so important.

Here's a couple of mine:

The Notebook - that kiss in the rain was HOT!

First Knight - I love when Julia Ormond finally asks for a kiss and he gives it to her - very passionate

Willow - when they're fighting and they stop to kiss

Fun topic!!!

Trish Milburn said...

Oh, that Spiderman one is hot. But then, I like Tobey McGuire. And the one in Never Been Kissed. I'll try to think of others.

Paula said...

Great kisses? LAST OF THE MOHICANS. The first kiss between Nathaniel and Cora at the fort. Yow. Surrounded by danger, their passion forbidden, the world literally falling down all around them... ::sappy sigh::


Anonymous said...

While there are a lot of reasons to NOT think of Mel Gibson, LOL...I have to say I haven't seen many men kiss better than he does in the movies. The kiss in the restaurant in What Women Want. The kiss on the wedding night and the next morning in Braveheart. Whew. That man knows what to do. What's one of his BIG talents? He knows how to use his hands during a kiss. I always notice that. Is the man touching her face, her hair? Give me any man who knows how to do that during a kiss, and you've got a winner. This is a great article, should submit it to the newsletter!


MJFredrick said...

Nikki, interesting examples. I didn't see the first and last (but they sound fun!), and don't remember First Knight. I don't remember the Mohicans kiss, either.

JoAnn, I love when a guy uses his hands, too. That was what I liked about the Ross and Rachel kiss.

Robyn said she thinks Clive Owen is a bad kisser based on the kiss in King Arthur. I'm not sure why.

Trish Milburn said...

I thought of the Last of the Mohicans kiss because that's my favorite movie, but I wasn't sure it was one of the best kisses because the scene kind of blurs out and suddenly it's after whatever they've done. :)

Amie Stuart said...

That spiderman kiss is absolutely UNforgetable.

MicheleKS said...

Mary, congrats on your contest finals. And on the kisses, that Tomb Raider one had me madly in love with Gerard. But another good Gerard one is in Dear Frankie.

MJFredrick said...

MICHELE!!!!! HOW ARE YOU????? I'm so glad you found me!!!! I've been wondering about you!! (Um, BTW, you're Gerry's ex in my WIP)

MJFredrick said...

Oh, and as for Gerry kisses, I really like the one in Phantom.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the LOTM kiss. Daniel-Day Lewis is hot. Man oh man. And the kiss Mel Gibson gives to his wife in Braveheart. ::swoon::

MicheleKS said...

I'm his ex?! I haven't even been his current (except in my dreams). How's that book coming along? I don't know when Gerry will actually show up in one of my WIPS (I have an idea kicking around in my head is all) but I'd rather have him come take me out of my somewhat-boring life.

MicheleKS said...

Oh and Mary, I have a list of my own favorite kisses on my blog:

MJFredrick said...

LOL, Michele, I'm about 90 pages from the end. I plan to be done by Labor Day. That's 30 pages a week - eek!

Can I link to your blog?

MicheleKS said...

Sure Mary. Go for it. I'm still learning how to work my blog so don't mind the blah layout.

Anonymous said...

Spiderman kiss WAS the hottest! Loved it.

Best kiss? Spike in Buffy in Tabula Rasa. Where they smooch and stop to breathe heavy, then smooch again. V. hot.

MJFredrick said...

Which was Tabula Rasa? After Buffy died?


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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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