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First Kiss - Exercise, very short (1 Viewer)

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LOLeah

Senior Member
I've been doing some romance writing exercises, as I plan to incorporate some romantic and sexual themes into my historical fiction/fantasy novel. This type of writing is where I am most unsure of myself, as it is not my main focus, so I could really use some feedback. This is just an exercise I did, for clarification purposes this is the first physically romantic encounter between the characters and happens during a staged fight, my male character is teaching my female character to defend herself with no weapons. I realize the dual POV is unusual but I don't know, I think it could work? Any insight on that or any other critique would be really helpful.

"Her last manuever brought her in front of him, totally vulnerable, and without his quickness of reflexes to stop what she knew was coming. The rest of his body still as a statue, his arm shot out. She attempted to deflect it but was too late and too weak. His right hand was at her throat and he pushed her violently backwards, stopping his momentum just before her impact with the stone of the wall behind her. He then pinned her gently but assertively and his fingers curled ever so slightly around her neck, applying just enough pressure to ascertain that in a real fight she would at this moment be defeated, unable to move without him crushing her windpipe.

Her breath was coming in gasps after the struggle and there was hair in her face and sweat on her brow. He was breathing heavily through his nose but not even winded enough to be panting as she was, the bastard. His fingers had loosened but his hand was still at her throat. She tilted her head back to rest against the wall and gave him a sheepish half smile and raised one eyebrow. She brought one hand up to rest on the arm still holding her prisoner and used the other to wipe the sweaty strands out of her face so she could meet his eyes. What she saw there gave her a jolt that wasn't quite fear.

He didn't know what he was doing. Staring at her neck had occupied him to distraction on more than one occassion. He had never before been so captivated by this particiular part of a woman. He admired the swell of their breasts, the curve of their hips under their gowns and imagined the rest in vulgar detail but never had he been so interested in the always visible, smooth, white skin of a throat or the delicate line of bones, so innocently feminine. He found himself relaxing his grip but keeping his hand on her and taking a step closer, to where their bodies were a mere inch apart. He had to look directly down to see his hand descend and begin to trace the ridges and hollows of her collarbone with his fingertips.

Chancing a look at her face, there was surprise and a cautious question there but no distaste and that was enough encouragement for him. Before he lost the nerve to do something he had thought about for months, he brought his hand up to cup her face. He brushed his thumb over her bottom lip, still parted from her upper in breathlessness, and with one last look into her eyes, searching for any sign of fear or uncertainty and finding none, he bent his head and kissed her."
 
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KellInkston

Senior Member
Oh~

I like this, very detailed and quick with actions and emotions. The intensity of the situation is very alluring, and I think that's the main thing you need for that sort of scene, for the reader to feel the heat of the engagement. I also think the dual POV is a good choice to relay the feelings on both sides. Definitely in a emotional sequence like this where facial expressions and actions are just barely enough, a dual POV can be excused, maybe even encouraged- nice job.

Honestly I wouldn't change a thing. The writing looks tight to me and there's not really anything I'd want changed. Very sexy~
 

LOLeah

Senior Member
Oh~

I like this, very detailed and quick with actions and emotions. The intensity of the situation is very alluring, and I think that's the main thing you need for that sort of scene, for the reader to feel the heat of the engagement. I also think the dual POV is a good choice to relay the feelings on both sides. Definitely in a emotional sequence like this where facial expressions and actions are just barely enough, a dual POV can be excused, maybe even encouraged- nice job.

Honestly I wouldn't change a thing. The writing looks tight to me and there's not really anything I'd want changed. Very sexy~
Thank you so much! This is actually the first piece of anything I have ever submitted for critique so I was really nervous. Lol Even though I was just playing around with romance writing and haven't even started my book yet I had my 2 main characters of my novel in mind when I wrote this. And I worried that the intensity wouldn't come across because the reader is missing the rest of the story which includes a pretty slow and cautious build of their relationship. I'm so pleased it was effective, thank you again. :)
 

KellInkston

Senior Member
Gladly- I understand where you're coming from; being nervous about the excerpt and all. I've had a few times people couldn't get into my writing due to the lack of investment. I'm sure that, if the kiss scene is this good, you've likely built up the tension between these two characters for a little while now, so that would make it even better.

Again, great job~
 

Sonata

Senior Member
I remember my first kiss. It was on a boat on Regent's Park Lake in London.

And I dropped the camera in the water.

Father was not pleased because it was his camera.
 

EmmaSohan

WF Veterans
I thought this was excellent.

A really small thing, you lost me on "he admired the swell". I thought you were talking about her. I think if you had said "He had admired the swell" all problems are solved.

Still small, a period after vulgar detail?
 

LOLeah

Senior Member
I thought this was excellent.

A really small thing, you lost me on "he admired the swell". I thought you were talking about her. I think if you had said "He had admired the swell" all problems are solved.

Still small, a period after vulgar detail?

You're right. I wanted to convey that he noticed things about her he didn't in other women but I can see where that might cause a pause/confusion.

And right about the period too, unnecessarily long sentences are my kryptonite. Lol Thank you.
 
I've never tried my hand at writing romance scenes, but this is pretty good. I would, however, consider replacing the word "prone" with something like "vulnerable".

"Her last maneuver brought her in front of him, totally prone, and without his quickness of reflexes to stop what she knew was coming."

A
s used in relation to body position, prone typically describes someone who is lying face down.
 

John Oberon

Senior Member
Her last manuever brought her in front of him, totally prone, and without his quickness of reflexes to stop what she knew was coming.

DemonKnight is right. "Prone" means she was laying face down on the ground in front of him. Tell me how any of the rest of the story happens with her starting in that position. Also, "prone" is not a word to take an adverb like "totally"; either you're prone or not, you can't be partially prone. Fix that, then I'll critique the rest.
 

LOLeah

Senior Member
I was using prone as more of a synonym of vulnerable (which it is as far as I know) and not to describe her actual position. But if at least 2 minds were hung up on it I suppose there is a better word.


ETA
Prone seems to be one of those fickle words. It can mean apt, vulnerable or lying flat. Is my concession that a reader might be prone (I slay me) to inferring the position definition sufficient or do I have to literally edit the original post before you will critique the rest? :lol:
 
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Kevin

WF Veterans
He's very assertive :) Yes . I agree . You've written a series of physical descriptions so naturally we assume that 'prone' is part of that... most common usage, etc.
 

LOLeah

Senior Member
I changed it. May as well use the word I was meaning in the first place. Important lesson here for me about avoiding those words if I am able.
 

Kevin

WF Veterans
or changing the context. If you'd said 'feeling prone'... but then would that be telling too much? Use it, don't use it? Choices, choices, and I thought this writing stuff was supposed to come easy.
 

John Oberon

Senior Member
OK, back from vacation. Sorry for the delay.

I think you clutter the scene with unneeded detail and clumsy wording. Also had some typos and misspellings. There are good parts to it, but that mincing detail really clogs the works. Learn how to present ideas and feelings more efficiently, and you'll do your readers a favor. Also, ending with a little poetry in a scene like this can't hurt. Little bit of POV problem in paragraphs 2 and 3. Something like this:

Her last maneuver brought her in front of him, totally vulnerable. Suddenly, his right hand gripped her by the throat. She attempted to deflect it, but couldn’t, and he drove her violently backwards with an arm of iron, stopping his momentum just before her impact with the stone wall behind her. He pinned her gently but assertively against the wall, his fingers applying just enough pressure to display his complete dominance over her.

She panted from the struggle. Hair veiled her face and sweat beaded on her brow while he barely breathed heavily. She leaned her head back against the wall and smiled sheepishly, raising one eyebrow. She hooked one hand on his outstretched arm and wiped the sweaty strands from her face with the other. What she saw in his eyes tingled her with a sensation not unlike fear.

Her neck occupied him to distraction on more than one occasion. He was never before so captivated by this particular part of a woman. He admired the swell of breasts and the curve of hips under gowns, and imagined the rest in vulgar detail, but the smooth, white skin of a throat, or the delicate line of bones so innocently feminine never entranced him so. He relaxed his grip a bit, and stepped close, feeling the heat of her body. His hand descended and traced the ridges and hollows of her collarbone with his fingertips.

She gazed at him with questioning and growing desire. He cupped her face with his hand and lightly brushed his thumb over her lips still parted with breathlessness, and with penetrating eyes, searched her soul for any sign of
fear or uncertainty. Finding none, he drank of the lips that had enflamed his soul for months.
 

LOLeah

Senior Member
Clumsy wording and I don't know how to present ideas or feelings effectively. So basically I don't know how to write. Lol yikes. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.
 
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TKent

Retired Chief Media Manager
LOLeah,

This was great stuff. It felt quite natural and gave me a warm and tingly. I enjoy a good romance. I find it hard for it to come off feeling natural so kudos to you (and your writing).

I do think you need to choose a POV and stick with it at least for a scene. I've often seen romance novels where an entire event is told first in one POV and then in the other POV but they were separated into different scenes or chapters (and sometimes even books - one of the entire story in her point of view and one in his). Jumping back and forth within a scene (sometimes called headhopping) can be challenging to follow. I had to go back once I hit the third paragraph to refresh myself on whose point of view the first 2 were in. If may be a little harder to write the entire scene in one or the other but I would do it if it were mine.

There is a book called 'Rivet Your Readers with Deep POV' by Jill Elizabeth Nelson that is a very good one on POV if you happen to like reading. I think Kyle R recommended it to me awhile back.
 

LOLeah

Senior Member
LOLeah,

This was great stuff. It felt quite natural and gave me a warm and tingly. I enjoy a good romance. I find it hard for it to come off feeling natural so kudos to you (and your writing).

I do think you need to choose a POV and stick with it at least for a scene. I've often seen romance novels where an entire event is told first in one POV and then in the other POV but they were separated into different scenes or chapters (and sometimes even books - one of the entire story in her point of view and one in his). Jumping back and forth within a scene (sometimes called headhopping) can be challenging to follow. I had to go back once I hit the third paragraph to refresh myself on whose point of view the first 2 were in. If may be a little harder to write the entire scene in one or the other but I would do it if it were mine.

There is a book called 'Rivet Your Readers with Deep POV' by Jill Elizabeth Nelson that is a very good one on POV if you happen to like reading. I think Kyle R recommended it to me awhile back.
I actually just learned this is called headhopping in the last few weeks (after I wrote and posted this) so now I can see why it's problematic. Even before I questioned it but I was so inclined to show what he was thinking. I will definitely check out this POV book, it's something I need a better grasp on. Thank you for kindness and advice.
 

John Oberon

Senior Member
Clumsy wording and I don't know how to present ideas or feelings effectively. So basically I don't know how to write. Lol yikes. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

No, that's not basically it at all. I did not say that you don't know how to write. I think you have a lot of potential. There are literally millions of ways to write your scene, and I presented you with just one that corrects the specific problems I saw in your writing. Also, I didn't say you don't know how to present ideas or feelings effectively. They were effective enough, given the responses you received. I said you need to learn to present them efficiently...as concisely as you can. Compare:

He then pinned her gently but assertively and his fingers curled ever so slightly around her neck, applying just enough pressure to ascertain that in a real fight she would at this moment be defeated, unable to move without him crushing her windpipe.

He pinned her gently but assertively against the wall, his fingers applying just enough pressure to display his complete dominance over her.

You use 43 words. I use 22. In your version, you use "ascertain", like the man's testing to discover whether he can defeat this woman in a real fight. In my version, he already knows that, but wants her to know it. Which do you think has more credibility and enters the reader's brain more readily?

I also think you're trying to present the male as some sort of man-child. He needs to test if he can defeat this girl, he doesn't know what he's doing, he needs encouragement, he's likely to lose his nerve. To heck with that crap, baby. Stop watering him down. Let's see the fire! As a male, I can say that from my earliest hormones, I knew exactly what I wanted, knew exactly what I was doing, needed zero encouragement, and sure, experienced nervousness about possible rejection from the girl and my performance as a novice, but zero nervousness about trying if I thought she liked me, lol. I don't think I'm at all unusual in that department.

If you like to get into each character's mind, use third person omniscient.
 
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LOLeah

Senior Member
No, that's not basically it at all. I did not say that you don't know how to write. I think you have a lot of potential. There are literally millions of ways to write your scene, and I presented you with just one that corrects the specific problems I saw in your writing. Also, I didn't say you don't know how to present ideas or feelings effectively. They were effective enough, given the responses you received. I said you need to learn to present them efficiently...as concisely as you can. Compare:

He then pinned her gently but assertively and his fingers curled ever so slightly around her neck, applying just enough pressure to ascertain that in a real fight she would at this moment be defeated, unable to move without him crushing her windpipe.

He pinned her gently but assertively against the wall, his fingers applying just enough pressure to display his complete dominance over her.

You use 43 words. I use 22. In your version, you use "ascertain", like the man's testing to discover whether he can defeat this woman in a real fight. In my version, he already knows that, but wants her to know it. Which do you think has more credibility and enters the reader's brain more readily?

I also think you're trying to present the male as some sort of man-child. He needs to test if he can defeat this girl, he doesn't know what he's doing, he needs encouragement, he's likely to lose his nerve. To heck with that crap, baby. Stop watering him down. Let's see the fire! As a male, I can say that from my earliest hormones, I knew exactly what I wanted, knew exactly what I was doing, needed zero encouragement, and sure, experienced nervousness about possible rejection from the girl and my performance as a novice, but zero nervousness about trying if I thought she liked me, lol. I don't think I'm at all unusual in that department.

If you like to get into each character's mind, use third person omniscient.
You're right. I'm too verbose and I know efficiency is a problem, you're not the only person to note it and even if you were I am humble enough to see the truth in it. I was recently told by someone else to completely forget everything I think I know about adverbs. LOL As an amateur it just gets discouraging sometimes, when the list of things I don't know piles high. But we all have to start somewhere, right?

The characters involved here are from a novel I'm working on...after months of research because it's historical fiction and I only have like 5k words so far and this scene is far ahead of me. I wanted to play around with the love story a bit and now I'm glad I did. But his uncertainty makes more sense with the rest of the story in place but now that you mention it, he really isn't that type of guy. SO since this scene is just an idea right now it will definitely be completely rewritten and I will be keeping your advice in mind.
 
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