Friday, April 13, 2012

K is for Kissing

YA writers are obsessed with kissing.  Seriously, ask any of them.

Last week at RT, I spent a lot of time with YA writers at all stages of their careers.  Some were multi-published, some were just getting started.  But we all love the kissing.

But why?

Some of it came home to me while sitting around with a group of those YA writers at conference.  One of them had been given a copy of an adult erotic romance at one of the events.  Demonstrating our usual level of maturity, we decided to do some dramatic readings of those scenes.  The reactions from the group were about on par with a group of 12 year-old girls.  Squealing, covering our ears, even a few "Ewwws!"

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm totally okay with the existence of erotic romance.  In fact, I know some really great people who write it.  But for a group of people who write about teenagers, it was all a bit much.  Too much anatomy.  And it was lacking in exactly the things we love about kissing scenes in YA.

Is there anything better than anticipation?  Not anxiety or fear, but anticipation.  Like when you're standing in line for a roller-coaster and your stomach is fluttering with nerves, but you want to get on that ride so bad.  Or the moment when a waiter sets your favorite dish in front of you and your mouth starts watering.

And is there any moment of anticipation better than that is-he-going-to-kiss-me? moment?  I submit there is not.  YA stories are filled with those moments.  No matter how intense a relationship gets between two characters, it's still relatively new when you're a teenager.  First kiss, first love, first lover (and yes, I am childish enough that the word lover makes me snicker).  It's all got that shiny, anticipation-filled, butterflies-in-the-stomach, sweaty-palms newness.

I love that.

Maybe at heart, all YA writers are adrenaline junkies.  I, for one, am glad that I'm able to find those feelings of wonder over and over again.  Cheap thrills, and natural highs.  What could be better?


Jennifer Hoffine said...

YA=kissing love.

Yeah, you're so right. I think that's why, when I read Romances, I prefer Historicals where it's all generally new for the female protag, at least...first kisses, first love...that's what it's all about!

Heather Whitley said...

I think you've gone and figured out what I love most about YA. It is about firsts and anticipation, isn't it? Without the adrenaline that goes into planning that leap into the unknown, life would be rather dull. Books, too.