Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First Kiss #3

TITLE: HALFWAY TO ANYWHERE
GENRE: Literary fiction

Stephanie (college freshman) and Mark (graduate student) are in the loft of his cottage.


Mark leaned past her to put the banjo in the corner, and then he placed his hand lightly behind her neck and kissed her, so tenderly that she stopped caring about embarrassment or calculus or whether she'd need to pee or the fact that she didn't know what kind of doctor she wanted to be - or really, whether she wanted to be a doctor at all.

The kiss went on and on. Mark stroked her cheek, and she could smell Red Zinger and woodsmoke on his hands. Finally, he leaned past her again and raised the window a few inches. "We don't want to burn up." He grinned.

Stephanie laughed. This time when they kissed, she looped her arms around his neck, and that was when she felt him tremble. It was just for a second, and it was slight - but it changed everything. Stephanie's sense of vulnerability evaporated, and she felt suddenly, completely sure of herself. Time slowed. She could feel the crisp evening breeze coming in through the unscreened window, could practically see it wafting through the loft. The coolness mingled with the dry heat of the woodstove, creating simultaneous chill and warmth. It reminded Stephanie of her family's trip to the Colorado hot springs, when she'd swum back and forth between the frigid water and the hot pockets. Kissing Mark, Stephanie felt both dense and light.

11 comments:

Mel said...

I like this--the smell of woodsmoke and Red Zinger on his hands. The coolness and warmth. But what I would really like is a little more build-up and maybe it's just the 250 words limit, but the first kiss happens too fast.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I like it, it's very sweet - I loved the tremble. I don't know about that last sentence, though, it's a little much. But very good job at putting the reader in the scene, and excellent description

Holly Bodger said...

There is WAY too much going on in the first sentence and I agree that you are rushing this kiss. If this is really the first kiss, it needs to be more powerful and the best way to accomplish that is often to slow down.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

hmmm. I wish there was more going on to get into the moment. There was no build up here, no tension, it just sort of happened. Still, there were good parts.

redqueen1 said...

I like this. It definitely captures the moment and I love how she loses her hesitance.

Only one small thing. When she was thinking in the third paragraph are they still kissing? I got a little confused with the seeing the breeze bit.

But I really like this!

K. M. Walton said...

I like how she forgets everything when he kisses her. Romantic.

I agree with a comment above about the last sentence...unless it is an overall theme in your book. Then I'd keep it.

fairchild said...

I thought it was fast and familiar, like they'd kissed before.

Kathleen MacIver said...

I loved a lot of this. I like the way the first sentence was so rambly...like all those thoughts that had been heavy on her mind were just flitting away.

How well it would have worked in the scene is hard to tell, though. I mean... if she HADN'T been thinking about all that, then it might not have fit so well.

Another thing that pulled me out was the use of their names. When you're being kissed, you're generally down to "him" and "me." Or, if you're in writing in third, "he" and "she." There's generally no one else around (at least in their thoughts) enough to get confused as to who they mean, so full names are not necessary.

Nina said...

I like the atmosphere, I feel like I'm in the room. Using their full names in the last sentence makes it seem like you're punctuating the kiss, making clear how important it was. I think it works.

Cat said...

There are no feelings in here. The description is lovely and sets a wonderful mood, but the characters fall flat. What does she experience at that first kiss? (Bodily sensations, emotional uproar). It reads as if she isn't really interested in his kiss. Since all these scene-snippets are out of context, this might be exactly what you wanted to achieve.

Jessica said...

I liked the rambling of the first sentence. Despite others saying that emotion and reaction aren't showing her, the stream-of-consciousness style of the first sentence shows how nervous and swept away she is. I had an ex who tended to ramble on without breathing when he was caught up, so that rang really true to me.

I liked the slight tremble when he reveal he was just as nervous. Would've loved to see a slight change in her as a result of this, some change in the way she holds her body or uses it to show her new confidence. It was the only spot where I think you could use a moment of show.

And really liked the comparison to the hot and cold water. You say a lot about how the kiss makes her feel, both physically and emotionally. The "dense and light" refers to the different waters too, right?

Nicely done! This worked well for literary fiction.