Recently, I came across Ava Jae’s article How to Write Awesome Kiss Scenes. The kiss is a huge deal in fiction of any sort, whether it’s novels or movies. The kiss comes with tropes, cliches, and classic moments. However, while reading the post, I realized that kissing isn’t the only significant form of touch characters can experience. In truth, any sort of touch can be significant to a story.
The purpose of a kiss should be to convey significant meaning about the characters, plot, themes, or anything else crucial to fiction. But the same can be said for a handshake, a touch on the shoulder, an embrace, a slap, or any other form of intimate or aggressive physical contact.
So often, like in real life, we forget that the majority of communication is nonverbal. Much like posture and gestures, touch is a huge nonverbal means of communication that characters should use and we writers should make the most of. Touch can convey positive or negative emotions and connotations. It can be brief or linger. It can be subtle or overt. But whatever its characteristics, in fiction, it should add depth, convey meaning, signal transitions or turning points, reveal emotion or motivation, or any other necessary story purpose.
So when writing, be aware of your characters’ physical actions, especially as they relate to other characters. Incorporate touch in a purposeful manner, and let it open up a whole new world of possibilities for nonverbal communication in your story.
You don’t have to write romance to utilize the significance of touch. Rather, you just have to realize that touch is an essential tool all humans utilize. Crowd watch for a few minutes and you can see the significance of touch in human interaction and communication.
Join me Monday for the next part of my read of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, including learning effective writing techniques from the book.
To read Ava Jae’s original post, click here.