Kissing Scene Competition Entry

Here is my entry for the Cupid’s Literary Connection Kissing Scene Competition.  I’m in Round 4 of the Blind Speed Dating Contest (in which writers compete to have their work reviewed by agents; only BSDC contestants can enter the Kissing Scene Competition as well).  My BSDC entry, #122, can be found here.  Oh yes…and I’m Kari Maaren.  I don’t believe I actually mention that anywhere on this blog.

Basic set-up:  the novel in which this scene appears (which is not the one I have entered in the BSDC) involves the protagonist, Sam, being caught up in a sadistic game run by a secret society.  She is accompanied by a bike messenger named Mor, who is pulled into the game by accident.  Sam, who is a little too liable to look at the world through the lense of Hollywood films, has just lost and then found Mor again; he has undergone a bit of light torture at the hands of his captors and is on the verge of a breakdown.  At this point in the story, Sam and Mor have known each other for about a day.

The excerpt:


I lost a few minutes again at this point.  I guess I was more upset than I thought I was; I remember feeling pretty calm.  My mind caught up with me eventually.  I was stroking Mor’s hair.  If I had been him and had been abandoned as he had been, I probably would have pulled away.

“We have to go,” I said.  “Can you walk?”

He shook his head against my shoulder.

“Mor,” I said, “you have to try.  What did they…?”  No.  “Look…just take deep breaths.  You’re hyperventilating.”

He kept breathing in pants.  I pushed his head back so that he was facing me directly, and I brushed the hair out of his lost green eyes.

“Deep breaths,” I said, and I kissed him.

It was a total cliche.  It was the moment in the generic action film where the protagonists, driven together by circumstances, share a moment that later turns out to foreshadow them being deeply in love.  I knew scenes like that were bullshit, and I didn’t know Mor well enough to be falling deeply in love with him, and yet I still kissed him.  It was the most astonishing kiss.  Boys didn’t exactly shove each other out of the way to get at me, but I’d had two serious boyfriends and a number of more casual encounters, and I was pretty sure I was a pretty good kisser.  Mor was better.  It had to be natural talent; it would have taken at least a hundred years of practice for someone to learn to kiss like that, sweet and tender all at once.  It seemed to be an automatic thing for him to do.  The panting stopped.  I felt my hands going up to his hair again, and I leaned into the kiss.

It ended too soon.  We pulled away together.  Mor’s eyes were closed.  He was breathing more normally now.  “Mor,” I said.

Mor opened his eyes.

“Don’t worry,” I said.  “I’ll never mention this again.”

He nodded.  “I would appreciate that.”

And that was the end of the total cliche.

12 thoughts on “Kissing Scene Competition Entry

  1. I like what you’ve done here. A cliche kissing scene that’s self-aware. Never read one of those before. Great job!

    I only have two critiques. The first is the opening line in your scene. To me, it reads choppy, almost like sentence structure for a tense or action-packed scene. After that, I think it read great. The second critique I have is with the kissing itself. Only in the last line do we learn how she felt about the kiss. Everything before that was backstory. I really think that hampered the emotional impact of the kiss and–if there is a future romance between the two– their first kiss wouldn’t help with relationship building.

    I’m post 19 btw. Any feedback would be awesome,

  2. I love the idea behind this kiss being cliche, it make it that much steamier. My one critique is I wanted just a tad bit more tension before she goes in for the kiss. The build up during the kiss was great but I wanted a similar sense with the anticipation. Otherwise great scene!

    Good luck!
    Jamie (entry #3)

  3. I really love this, and the fact that it explores something that always irks me about movie/book romances. I know that insta-love is necessary to speed things up, but I wish they’d make more awkward/real moments like THIS.

    I feel like the scene could have been even better with a bit more insight as to why the MC kissed him in this instance … though I suppose that it would be more obvious in context. Was it primarily to snap him out of it?

  4. Wow I thought that was quite interesting! I like how you put it out there that its not love just a kiss, and I love your characters honesty. I love how she describes his skillful kissing: he must have been at it 100 years. Great job!

    Jessica (#42)

  5. Hello, everybody! Thanks for your comments; they’re very helpful indeed. To address a few of the points: the first sentence reads like it’s part of an action sequence because in a way, it is coming at the tail end of one. I should, perhaps, have left it out; it was hard to know exactly where to start. I couldn’t begin any earlier, as the scene is currently 347 words long. That may also explain the lack of tension. There’s quite a bit of tension just before this bit, but I couldn’t include it.

    Carissa: it’s difficult to answer your question, mainly because Sam is an extremely unreliable narrator who sometimes outright lies about her motives. What she would probably claim at this point in the story was that she kissed Mor because it seemed like that kind of a moment. In reality, it’s probably partly to calm him down, partly to alleviate her own guilt over her own part in what has happened to him, and partly because she’s been watching too many Hollywood movies.

  6. What a fun scene. Like the others, I loved the Hollywood moment. My only critique is that I’d let the readers see this instead of the blinking arrow “It was a total cliche.” Maybe she could think, “Cue Hollywood” or something like that? Or just leave out that sentence, and the one at the end. Believe me — your writing is strong: readers will get it.
    –Barb (#38)

  7. I both really like that’s so self-aware and then straddle a fence about it. The more cynical part of me loves this, loves how this really reveals a lot of the character of Sam. The romance reading part of me, of course, chimes for more “Hollywood” here. Overall, i find the idea clever, of having an anti-climatic kissing scene, because it does oddly, ramp up the tension. Good job and good luck!

    Virginia #7

  8. This was fun to read. I really liked him nodding and saying, “I would appreciate that.” at the end, and how he understood her kiss for what it was – a distraction. And I like her description of his kiss too. Best of luck!
    Laura, Kiss #33, BSD #112

  9. Ha! This is pretty funny and very clever. I love that she knows how cliche it is to use a kiss as a distraction and that she does it anyway. I also think it’s pretty great that they both see it for what it is. I still think the amount of enjoyment Sam had during the kiss is hinting that there might be more between them but that could be the romantic in me. Awesome kiss!

    -Amber (#41)
    My Kissing Scene

  10. I love the acknowledgement of a “cliche” kiss. But then you do a terrific job of proving it to be anything but. And I love your last line too!
    -Entry #12

  11. Like almost all the other comments have said – I love the self-aware “oh, what the heck, let’s go with this movie moment that isn’t going to be anything like what I actually see in the movies” It definitely gives us a look into her character…but I have to say, I was so bummed at Mor’s reaction. No – I don’t want him falling head over heels for her post-kiss, but if he was a good of a kisser as she said she was…I really don’t get his reply…in a way it killed the scene for me. But perhaps it’s only because I only have an itty bitty piece of the scene.
    Overall though, I enjoyed it! Good luck!
    Melonie (kiss #29)

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