Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Kiss #16

TITLE: Bits and Pieces

Valentine's day sucked for Bits. Our hero makes up for another's misdeeds by serenading her. We join the action after the song.

"What are you waiting for? Kiss her fool!" An old lady stands on the sidewalk with her poodle.

One step separates me from Bits. The intensity of her stare nearly chokes me. She drinks me in with her eyes and I’m locked in. Everything I ever hoped to read in a girl’s eyes is written clear as day in hers. I’m afraid to touch her and upset the balance of this moment. One hand acts of its own accord and reaches for her (the other still awkwardly holds the speaker docked iPod). She melts into me, face buried in my chest, her arms pinned between us, her entire body shivering. I come to my senses and stuff the iPod into a pocket and wrap the coat around her. God, she smells sweet. I bury my face in her neck. She giggles and raises her face to mine. Her lashes close, she raises slightly on her toes, and presses her lips against mine. It’s all I can do to not swallow her whole. Instead, I let her kiss me and relish the heat that builds between us. She wiggles her hands free and fits them along my jaw, gentle but cold. I pull the coat flaps tighter around us and she kisses me again. The raw emotion from her lips rocks me to the core. She stares me in the eyes. All I see in her face is a happiness I hesitate to take credit for. I only hope to hide the terror, the ache, how dangerous I feel. I wanted this, wanted her. I never expected reciprocation.

Our little reverie is broken by a wheezy whooping and hollering from behind us.

Bits laughs and rests her head, nestled under my chin. “Let’s go inside. My feet are freezing.”


  1. This is one of my favorites of the bunch so far! The voice drew me in immediately. This is the type of YA voice I happen to love -- equal parts intelligent and snarky and goofy and sweet. I really like the end of the big paragraph where he acknowledges how dangerous he feels; that brings a palpable feeling of tension to the whole thing. I feel like I know a lot about him, Bits, and their situation form this short excerpt.

    The one line that tripped me up was, "The raw emotion from her lips rocks me to the core." "raw emotion from her lips" seems melodramatic for the voice, and "rocks me to the core" felt cliche to me. (Same goes for "clear as day" a few lines above.) I think well-worn phrases have their place sometimes, but these two jumped out at me as opportunities to insert something more unique (since the narrator strikes me as a non-cliche kinda guy).

    Good work!!

  2. One easy thing - break up the large paragraph. It's very easy to skip/miss important details when the text is so densely packed. Adding paragraphs will allow for extra beats and slow this down.

    Instead of "the other still awkwardly holds" could simplify to "the other still clutches."

    Don't think you need "come to my senses."

    Instead of "presses her lips," how about something more sexy like "brushes?" And in the next beat, what does he do with his lips. I wanted his response.

    Not sure you need "wiggles her hands free." It would be implied with her fitting them along his face.

    Agree about "raw emotion;" needs to be described specifically.

    "She stares me" is confusing. I thought they were still kissing. Do they break apart at this point?

    Love his thoughts about how scared he is and how he never expected this reaction.

    Love them being broken apart by the little old lady. Nice touch.

  3. I was right there with them in this scene, but the first paragraph is kinda long. You could break it up by putting "God, she smells sweet!" into a stand-alone paragraph.

    Mentioning lashes and then toes kind of jerked my attention from her face to her feet. (Lashes don't really close.)

    Does she stare while she's still kissing? It reads that way, but I wasn't sure if she does, or if she would.

    Does HE feel dangerous, or does he think the emotion between them is
    dangerous? Maybe "how dangerous IT feels."

    You might add "on my chest" to "Bits laughs and rests her head."

    The old lady adds some fun humor!

  4. I also had a problem with the densely long paragraph. Also, the choreography, though physically accurate, reads like a list. It doesn't have that ebb and flow of emotion that creates a romantic scene. She did this and this and this... It just didn't engage me.

    I think eliminating all the cliches and tightening the prose, then breaking up the paragraph, will help this scene quite a bit. Good luck!

  5. I thought this worked pretty well, but it could be stronger.

    Presentation matters. My first reaction on seeing that big,
    chunky parg. was that if the writer doesn't even know how to use parg. breaks, how good can it be? I'm prejudging before I even read it, and you don't want that to happen. So first, I'd suggest breaking up that parg into several.

    I'd cut -- clear as day, and the bit in parentheses. If you've described the scene previous to this, we should already know what's in his other hand.

    Consider her position. Her face is buried in his chest and her arms are pinned between them. So where are her arms, (not against his chest) and why would she put herself in that position?

    Perhaps reconsider the word 'giggles.' To me, it implies she doesn't take this seriously, like perhaps she's playing with him.

    She looks up to kiss him, but his face is still buried in her neck.

    He lets her kiss him, but does he kiss her back, or does he just stand there?

    Cut - The raw emotion from her lips rocks me to the core. Sentences like this fall into the same realm as, It was a dark and stormy night. What does that sentence mean to you? Write that instead.

    I only hope to hide the terror etc - Those last few lines gave me a creepy feeling, like maybe his love/infatuation for her was a dark kind of love, and the rest didn't feel that way. So maybe cut or rephrase that if it isn't the case.

    Overall, I thought this worked for the most part. You do get in the emotion which, in my mind, is what's most important in a scene like this.