16 January 2017

Why are Girls Bad Kissers? (or, Symbolism After the Fact)

I find there are two different ways that symbolism pops up within my stories. Either I plan it ahead of time and figuring everything out before I even write it, or it just shows up on its own and then I have to dissect these moments and maybe even flesh them out so that the symbolism actually makes sense. Funnily enough, it's usually the latter. For the most part, I don't plan out symbolism. It just happens. 

When I say "symbolism" I actually mean a few different things. It can be actual symbols--an object or something that occurs and represents something else. Or it can be other things. Moments that connect over the course of the story. A similar theme or idea popping up over and over again. Really just anything extra that makes you stop and go, "huh." It means more than what is just there on the surface. 

But anyway, I'm getting off track. You're probably wondering what the heck this has to do with girls being bad kissers. I realized that while there are only two teenage girl characters in UL (and only one of them gets real page time), they had something in common. Jordan just had to tell the reader what sloppy kissers they were. 

I honestly don't even know where that came from. And it's definitely not supposed to be some kind of "Oh, he's only gay because every girl he kisses is terrible at it!" thing. No no no no no. I'm definitely not in the position to be giving any wrong impressions in this book. So why the bad kissing? In the first chapter he mentions going on one date with this girl Kristen, who is--obviously--a bad kisser. Later on in the book he actually does start going at it with another girl, Madison--also a bad kisser (until he shows her what's what). 

So. What exactly was I supposed to do with this nonsense? Cut it? Only have one of them be a bad kisser? It just seemed like a weird thing to keep mentioning, and really wasn't all that necessary of a detail (especially for Kristen). 

I actually went in a different direction with my thought process. I thought about the main female character--Jordan's mom. It's pretty obvious throughout the book that she's a neglectful mother. I don't think she ever would have kissed her son, even when he was a baby. So what the heck does that have to do with my sloppy kissers??

Well, these are really the only three women mentioned in the book. I figured that maybe there was a way for some kind of symbolism to happen here (especially because I love things that come in threes for this book). The final scene with Jordan's mom has always been a big fight, although it's going to change a lot from the last draft and I still have to figure out what to do with it. But the basic idea is that she betrays Jordan in some way and he feels he can never forgive her. So I was thinking, what if in her desperation during this moment, to get his forgiveness and actually be a good mother, maybe she tries to kiss him--on the forehead, cheek, maybe even the hand--just something. And he still rejects her. I think it could be a powerful moment if done right. 

So I'm definitely still figuring it out. But I think there's something there. I think the bad kissing girls can be more about building up to the moment with the mother rather than having anything to do with sexuality or that sort of intimacy. Hopefully it will be fun to figure out and not too much of a struggle!


  1. I'm sure most women would say men are the lousy kissers.
    You meant no symbolism, but someone else saw it. To some extent, you can't avoid it all together. People will see what they want to see.

  2. Ha! I like Alex's comment. ;)

    I like how you want to connect it to his mom. That would be a powerful moment and readers will certainly have an AHA moment.

  3. I agree with Chrys; I think it would be meaningful if you connected it to how he felt towards his mom.
    Your post made me think about my first kiss, which was with a very bad kisser. To this day, I shudder when I think about him.

  4. I agree with the other comments too - the mom thing will be very interesting to explore.

    If random scenes pop up while I'm writing, I always know it's a game-changer, I just have to wait for it to consolidate - usual while I'm drifting off to sleep.

  5. Maybe it's you making Jordan overly critical of woman because of his mother and they really aren't bad kissers. ;)

  6. I don't particularly find the mom angle very interesting. I'd be more tempted to show him as an inexperienced kid (guessing 17?) testing out lip contact and the effect. I can imagine a lot of introspection following one of these encounters. "I should have" "What if I'd" "She'll never go out with me again" That's just my take on it.

  7. I was thinking along the same lines as Patricia as I read this . . . don't know why, and then I read her comment. :) I think to play that angle, you could definitely have him remembering something about his mom in connection to those girls . . . and then the final scene, where she tries to kiss his forehead, or something super awkward.