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For starters, most of my characters don’t generally have anything resembling a “first date.” I tend to put them in harrowing or stressful situations first that force them into working together. (Sorry, my beloved characters, for the many layers of hell I put you through!) (Not sorry!)

Which means a part of this question is a little more abstract for many of my stories. Maybe it should be “Do my characters kiss within the first day?” or “Do my characters kiss the first chance they get alone?” or “Do my characters think more about kissing than they do about whatever dangerous situation I’ve put them in?”

I actually had an editor once tell me that I needed more sexy thoughts in one of my novels. Like, there’s a WHOLE FEW CHAPTERS HE DOESN’T THINK ABOUT SEX! Must change that… In my defense, the poor guy was beat-up and suffering from a poisoning, so I didn’t think it was fair to ask me to put more sexy in that part of the story. [I did my best though.]

In general though, during my romances, I will often look at the story and find where and when makes sense for my characters to get together, which usually puts them needing to do all their kissing before and after the climactic scenes. Since my longer stories tend to have a strong adventure, action or mystery arc, that means that the resolution to those arcs happen first using a fast-paced climax.

It’s about opening and closing arcs in the proper order. For example:

{open romance arc [open mystery arc (open/close action arc) close mystery arc] close romance arc}


{open mystery arc [open romance arc (open action sequence/close action sequence) close romance arc] close mystery arc}


{open adventure arc [open romance arc (open/close dangerous mystery action arc) ~semi close adventure arc/~semi close romance arc …. leave both somewhat unfinished/unclosed as parts of larger arcs that sweep into next story …. {open next stage of adventure arc, etc.

But one thing you’ll notice is that action tends to need to close after it has been opened. Sometimes I can finagle things. Like having calm eyes within the storms. But not only is that not the place for actual opening or closing of a romantic arc (a continuing of one, yes, but not for the beginning or end), but also, for a lot of stories, that’s not possible, which puts the heavier lifting of the romance arc on either side of an action sequence.

Which is a very long-winded way of saying that yes, yes I don’t mind having characters kiss on a “first date” because sometimes that’s the space an author has in the story line for that kiss to happen. For longer stories, where the romance can be drawn-out, I will try to add tension earlier on within a relationship, but that doesn’t always include no-kissing.