Thursday, April 7, 2011

Twelve steps to Steamy

Whether you write YA novels or any other genre were romance occurs, there’s no emotional satisfaction if your characters meet one second and are making out (or having sex) the next. You need to build up to the moment. Tease your characters and readers. Take things slowly. And take them through the 12 steps to intimacy as originally described by author Linda Howard:
1.      Eye to body
2.      Eye to eye
3.      Voice to voice
4.      Hand to hand (or arm)
5.      Arm to shoulder
6.      Arm to waist or back
7.      Kissing  (mouth to mouth)
8.      Hand to head
9.      Hand to body
10.  Mouth to breast
11.  Hand to private parts
12.  Private parts to private part (okay, you know what I mean).
Your characters don’t have to go through all the steps in the first meeting (though they can), and the steps don’t have to be done in this order (though don’t try #12 without hitting the majority of the others first).
I personally think it’s sexier when the guy’s lips travel over the female’s temple, jaw, throat, or shoulder before finding her lips. And don’t forget the kiss can range from the brushing of his lips against hers to the deepening of their kisses. Maybe the guy leans in to kiss her (maybe he even gets as far as brushing his lips against hers) and the kiss is interrupted by someone or something else. Always a favorite trick of mine.  Also, by introducing just a few steps at a time, you can build the suspense, leaving your reader wondering whether the first kiss (or the more intimate, deepening kiss) is going to happen and when.  
But please, don’t make your reader wait too long. Nothing drives me crazier than having to wait ¾ of the book before the main character and her love interest finally kiss (as in the YA paranormal novel I recently read). What I do love, though, is not knowing if they’re going to go all the way. Obviously that doesn’t work for all subgenres of romance. If you’re reading an erotic romance, you’re expecting some action to happen pretty quickly. Heck, you’re expecting action. Period. This is why it’s important to be well read in the type of books you want to write.
Questions: do you like waiting for the first kiss to happen or get frustrated if it takes too long? Do you prefer things to get steamy pretty quickly (depending on the genre, this could be a steamy make out scene or a mind numbing rump between sheets)? And what is your favorite type of first kiss?


Jennifer Shirk said...

I like it when an author takes it slow. The build up to a great kiss sometimes can be just as good as the kiss if done right. :)

Gina Ciocca said...

I actually don't like it when the kiss happens to soon, and it feels rushed. I like a near miss or two before the real thing, a buildup so it's that much better when it really happens! I also love it when they're THISCLOSE and the guy or girl whispers, "Kiss me." So hot.
I love this blog :)

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Wow, way to break it down!!! LOL good post and thanks for stopping by Tiptoe-Kisses today:)

Sherrie Petersen said...

Love these 12 steps!

I'm in book 3 of a series where the two main characters are in love and they haven't kissed yet. Yeah. Third and final book and they have yet to kiss. Okay, there's a war going on but WTH?!

Marie Rose Dufour said...

I absolutely love those steps! I do like the slow build up to the first kiss. With every light stroke, tension mounts! But it is true, you can't hold off for too long or your reader will get frustrated. Thanks so much.

Roberta Walker said...

I love the slow build, but hmm, perhaps mine is too long. Will need to revisit. Thanks for the tips

Linda Kage said...

Oh, thank you! I remember seeing these somewhere long ago and couldn't find them again. I know, boo hoo.

So glad you posted them so I could reread the steps. Bless you.

Jessica A. Briones said...

Great post, Slow is always good, but I hate waiting too long to see the first kiss happen.

Love the 12 steps!

Unknown said...

I find my characters tend to get a little impatient and rebel against my outline. But the 12 steps helps things from moving too quickly. In the end, everyone's happy. :D

Linda Gray said...

My favorite type of first kiss: when I've been with the characters for a while and know who they are and can not only feel the heat developing between them, but am cheering that on because they are So Good together.

This is such a fun blog for a non-romance writer who loves romance! You ladies have received a blog award for Chocolate & Spice over on Critique Sisters. So glad I found you here.

Post a Comment