Pucker up! In Spain, as in many Hispanic countries, kisses are big. That is, dos besos--or two kisses, one on each cheek--is Spain's form of a greeting. While handshakes exist, they're exclusively between men, and even then they aren't that common.
Whenever you greet someone in Spain, whether you're best friends or you've never seen them before in your life, most likely you'll exchange besos. You'll say something like, "Hola, me llamo Sam. Mucho gusto" ("Hello, my name is Sam. Nice to meet you"), then he'll introduce himself, and proceed to give you dos besos. Sometimes the besos come even before the name. However, most of the time lips don't actually touch skin; rather, it's cheek to cheek, like this:
Besos are something that, if you come to Spain, you must do. Otherwise, you'll end up confusing a lot of people. Plus, you'll likely insult them, and you don't want that. So don't be shy!
Who doesn't love a good kissing scene, right? They're fun to read. They're fun to write. However, it's easy to go overboard: a first kiss doesn't need to be a page long. One sentence, maybe two, will suffice. Much longer than that, and I start to roll my eyes, unless there's a specific reason it's being dragged out.
Kisses, especially in YA, are one of the weapons writers hold in their arsenals. Even if the book isn't strictly romance, the question of "When will the characters admit their love and share a kiss?" keeps readers turning pages. In the hopes that the next scene, the next chapter, will hold that long-awaited kiss. That's why I'm so opposed to insta-love. If the romance happens right away, the story can quickly lose a lot of momentum.
That's why Ron and Hermione's kiss is one of the best literary kisses of all time. Because we had to wait. And not just for a few chapters, but for seven. whole. books. So when it finally happened, I was beside myself with joy, jumping up and down, shouting "Finally!" at the top of my lungs.
What do you think about kissing scenes? What are your favorites? Least favorites?