Stasia Kehoe grew up dancing and performing on stages from New Hampshire to Washington, DC. She now writes books for young adults and choreographs the occasional musical.Her novels AUDITION and THE SOUND OF LETTING GO are both written in verse.
Why We Write Kissing Scenes in YA by Stasia Ward Kehoe!
THE LIP LOCK
As a writer of Young Adult fiction, I think a lot about
kissing scenes. If you and I are Facebook friends or Twitter buddies, you already
know I enjoy writing them. I also take them quite seriously because they are
serious matters for many of my teen readers.
Back when I wrote my first YA novel, AUDITION, I posted a
YouTube discussing HOW to
write a kissing scene. The video was a bit tongue-in-cheek (no pun
intended—heck, yes, pun intended!) but truthful.
Today, as I wrap up the blog tour for my second novel, THE
SOUND OF LETTING GO, here at A BACKWARDS STORY, I’d like to approach the
kissing scene from a Writing Craft perspective and share some of the WHY of including
such moments in a story, particularly in the context of teen novels.
SHOWS HIGHER RISK
From catching the eye of a guy to banter and even to holding
hands, the risks of romance are largely emotional (heartbreak, embarrassment). In
getting to the point of kissing, we realize the parts of a physical
relationship that we are actually afraid of (or not ready for; or don’t
understand). When characters kiss in a
book (or on screen) there is a shift in their relationship—a change in the
dynamic of the story.
IS A PAIRED ACT THAT WE REVISIT ALONE, THEN SHARE CAREFULLY
Kissing is an act embued with meaning. It is something we DO
for X minutes of time and then REFLECT UPON for exponentially MORE minutes.
Especially at the beginnings of relationships. After that, we travel with that
kiss into the rest of our world. We tell a friend or family member about a
kiss, or confront a cheating partner about a kiss. A kiss can lead writers down
many a fascinating plot path for which we are grateful since plots can
sometimes be tricky!
What is a good kisser, emotionally and physically? Does a
good kisser make a good boyfriend? Do you always kiss for the right reasons?
Can BIG ISSUES be explored without going beyond the kissing point? Why or why not?
While I sometimes shy away from breaking the writing process
down too much, I feel it can be useful to explore the WHY of dramatic
moments, such as kisses, particularly if you feel you’ve written one that
doesn’t quite have the intensity you would like. Knowing exactly WHY your
character gives, or participates in, a kiss may help you realize how well you
know the character in a larger sense. Changing the limit of “how far” a kiss is
taken can have a dramatic effect on the way readers perceive the ongoing
relationship between characters.
In the end, I think, a kiss can represent a reach outward for
love. It daring and dangerous, precious, fleeting, sometimes life-altering
and, for the writer, always worth some extra moments of refinement.
Stasia Ward Kehoe’s second novel, THE SOUND OF LETTING GO is available now from AMAZON, B&N, INDIEBOUND and wherever books are sold. She is at work on a new manuscript in which, of course, there is a critical kissing scene. When not at her desk, she can be found teaching writing workshops in the Pacific Northwest and driving multitudinous carpools.
Title: THE SOUND OF LETTING GO
Author: Stasia Ward Kehoe
Release Date: Feb. 6, 2014
Publisher: Penguin / Viking Children's Received: For Review
sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with
her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when
her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents
announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without
consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good
sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks
in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.
one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange
student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the
prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How
can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?
Enter to win
…a signed first edition of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO,
one of four different TsoLG Swag Packs,
or a pair of author-designed custom Keds sneakers (size 8)