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The Why

October 16, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, Plot, The Craft  0 Comments

Some whys need no asking. There is no reason to ask “why” someone broken into my car and ate my Altoids and took all my D&D dice, he just did. Nor was there a profound why when King County Sheriff returned my dice. It was the deputy’s job, and I was thankful.

True story, by the way. But I digress.

A writing friend asked me for some advice. After the “I am not published” disclaimer, I told her if she really wanted to improve her characterization, she needed to start asking the hard questions about herself and be prepared to deal with the truth of her self-assessment.

I gave her a kissing example (no, I did not kiss her, geeze). Why, when I was a young man in my teens, did I kiss one girl and not another?

The easy answer would be opportunity. That’s only a small truth to a larger answer. Did I kiss the right girl, or the wrong girl? To not answer the question of kiss, for a writer, is to make the unsaid claim that kissing isn’t important.

The romantics in us know that kissing is everything.



Self-reflection can dive into the danger zone. Mistakes we made are a part of us and to wish they were not leads to self-loathing.

That’s the rub. The writer has to look past that. She has to answer why. Sometimes the answer is full of regret. There is no second-guessing in the almighty pursuit of the why. Even guilt is a substandard emotion when digging at ourselves for the truth.

This leads me back to kissing; kissing is visceral. It is a physical act of desire, passion, lust and love. Sometimes at the same time.

Mmmmmm kissing mmmmmm

Oh wait, what were we talking about again? Oh, that’s right. Writing.

There is always the story of the boy or girl that got away. And that’s why I brought up kissing. It’s more than the boy and girl that got away as a universal story of longing, regret, and loss. It’s the reality of not kissing. Think about it. It’s one thing to say “oh, that’s the one that got away,” and quite another to say “we never kissed yet I can close my eyes and feel her lips on mine.” Never held hands. Never made love. Never fought, never made up. Never admitted a mistake with a sheepish grin.

The why. Always the why. Don’t tell me why that one got away. Tell me a story about why you didn’t kiss.

Kissing Week, Friday: Cookies!

July 10, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random  1 Comment

Kissing is like drinking salted water.  You drink, and your thirst increases.

—Chinese Proverb

We come to the end of kissing week!

So, I’m a guy, right? Right.

And most of my blog readers are women, right?

So I feel it is necessary, nay, I am compelled, to explain the guy fascination with two women kissing.

I had a relationship with a Ms. Fearless. We were in my apartment making cookies. Chocolate chip.

Minor digression: Warm chocolate chip cookies make great foreplay.

Anyway, she asked me quite abruptly:

“What is this childish fascination guys have with two girls kissing?”

“Uh, it’s not childish, but I can explain it to you.”

“Do so!”

So I get out two plates, and put one cookie on one plate and two cookies on another plate.

“Okay, which plate would you like?”


“Which cookie plate looks better?”

“Women are not cookies!”

“Are you sure about that? Are you really sure watching two women kiss is not analogous to taking the two-cookie plate versus the one-cookie plate for a guy?

“Uh. Fine.”

Ms. Fearless grabs the two-cookie plate.

“Congratulations! You are well underway to your first lesbian kiss!”

“I am so going to kick your ass.”

“Can I eat my cookie first?”


Heh heh heh.

Kissing Week, Wednesday: The Kissing Voice

July 08, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, The Craft  2 Comments

I’ve written about the sexual voice here in Hack Writerville.

Let’s be honest. Some writers just will never get it. And that is okay. They can write books and I’ll read them.

But when a writer boofs (and boofs is a technical term) kissing, well that just irks me to no end.

A good kissing voice is totally necessary if your main character is, um, kissing. TOTALLY!

Let me explain.

We all have first kisses. There’s that first kiss with the first person to really kiss us, and then there is that first kiss with a specific person. The interest. The hottie. The lovah!

First kisses mean so much to almost every person. There is a certain kind of magic in that first kiss of your new paramour. Its more than just sex or affection, it’s the wonder and anticipation of something new and sensual. It’s magic and if it works, it’s magical if anything really was magical.

So why do writers boof the first kiss? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read TELL first kisses rather than SHOW first kisses. I do not get it. Maybe I’m an incurable romantic. Here’s my theory:

1) The writer is a bad kisser

2) The writer has forgotten the magic

3) The writing is stilted. That is, the writer knows there is something wrong with the kissing scene but is not skilled enough, or brave enough, to fix it

4) Combination of the above

5) All of the above

Now, I’m not going to write off a good book with bad kissing. But I am going to wonder. I am going to wonder just how much better the novel could be if the writer was more honest.

I’m not saying you need to get porno with the first kiss. All I’m asking is bring back the magic.

Kissing, my friends, is where it’s at!

Masao and Bunny: their first kiss

“Thank you, oh, thank you. My family has waited a long time for someone, anyone to say that,” Masao whispered, “a long time.” His own tears fell into Bunny’s hair; his naked honesty a self-inflicted knife wound to his own heart.

Bunny looked up at his face, closed her eyes and parted her lips.

You are an old fool, Masao thought to himself, but kissed her anyway.

Her lips, tasting of wine, were soft and her tongue was comforting but sensuous, both generous and insistent in a slow, focused way. She smelled of flowers and the sea, and in his arms she felt of coiled passion but also pure softness—a feminine contradiction that declared her a woman as any woman he had ever held. Her arm came up to grasp the back of his shoulder and his hand ran down the smooth fabric of her tight dress to cup her bottom, pulling her closer. The other hand he ran through her hair and she relaxed into him.

Then the kiss really started.

An old fool who is on fire, then.


Kissing Week, Tuesday: Ancient Kissing Wisdom

July 07, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random  0 Comments

The Kama Sutra is but one of three ancient Indian texts concerning the aims of life. It is an extraordinary compendium for various practical insights pertaining to intimacy between partners, attention to mood, atmosphere and the senses.

In also tells us quite a bit about kissing “inexperienced young women”:

There are three kinds of kisses to be practiced with inexperienced young women. They are the nominal kiss, the throbbing kiss, and the touching kiss. Here is how they are described:

1. “When a girl only touches the mouth of her lover with her own, but does not, herself, do anything it is called the ‘nominal kiss’”.

2. “When a girl, setting aside her bashfulness a little, wishes to touch the lip that is pressed into her mouth, and with that object moves her lower lip, but not the upper one, it is called the ‘throbbing kiss’”.

3. “When a girl touches her lover’s lip with her tongue, and having shut her eyes, places her hands on those of her lover, it is called the ‘touching kiss’”.

How extraordinary these three little “rules” are! If you agree or disagree about the types of kisses of the inexperienced young woman, the underlying philosophy is an amazing acknowledgment of the idea that a sexual experience, a kiss, can only be so good unless both people are equally involved.

Here, the Kama Sutra is describing the inexperienced to the experienced in practical terms. You might be thinking, “well duh,” Let us think of the context of not just what the compendium said, but when.

Allowing the young, inexperienced person to lead the first encounters shows a depth of empathy for the feminine that resonates all the way to modern western culture between gentlemen and the ladies they wish to kiss.

There are other kissing lessons in the Kama Sutra, such as the whimsical advance and withdraw and play acting. But the celebration of empathy eclipses all of those other insights.

Good kisses have physical characteristics linked with desire and affection.

The best kisses have sensual roots in empathy and understanding.

Kissing Obsessed

July 06, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  3 Comments

About once a year, I feel the need to write about kissing.

I used to think it was because I was, you know, a guy writer. Horn dog, etc.

But if I take a look at the books on my shelf written by guys, there’s not a whole lot of kissing going on.

What is this once-a-year urge to write about kissing? Frankly, I just don’t know.

I love kissing though.

Bunny Trouble is a Libertarian Gun Nut Near-Future Science Fiction Kissing Book. With an alien. Who kisses. And then shoots bad guys.

She hasn’t kissed Bunny yet. That comes later. In book two. Henceforth named Killer Bunny.

Yeah. Bunny starts kissing. Then she starts shooting bad guys too.

Anyway, since this is apparently Kissing Week week on the brain, I declare this Kissing Week on my blog!

Feel free to tune out and join me next week after I have purged this yearly kissing ritual.


A Young Man’s Muse

September 18, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random, The Craft  1 Comment

Ken posted a wonderful, whimsical look into his motivations in becoming a novelist.

I wish my motivations were as pure as inspiration from Ray Bradbury. My literary foundation is a hormonal memory, programmed by my very first girlfriend.

Victoria was just cute: young and cute, perky and cute and then one day she went from cute to pretty. A big sci-fi and fantasy fan, I cannot begin to tell you how many books she introduced me to, and she even introduced me to Powell’s Books. There is a special place in my heart for someone who drove me to Powell’s for the first time; they actually had The Platypus of Doom on a shelf. We are talking major relationship mojoo. Wherever she is now, I am sure Life has blessed her with a kind husband and low-maintenance children.

Victoria was not just pretty, she was soft, girl soft, and she always smelled good. Just thinking about that fresh High School Girl Next Door scent makes me a day younger. She was easy to please, easy to smile and a mischievous pixie.

One afternoon while her parents and sister were out, we were kissing in her living room. Victoria was a fabulous kisser, and often when kissing her my mind emptied of thought. Little did I know Victoria, as smart pretty girls are wont to do, used this to her advantage.

(kiss kiss) “Anthony?” (kiss)

(kiss) “Hmmm?” (kiss)

(kiss) “You should write me a book.” (kiss)

(kiss) “Huh?” (yes, I was the master of conversation in 1985, let me tell you)

(kiss) “Write.” (kiss) “Me.” (kiss) “A.” (kiss) “Book.” (kiss)

(kiss) “Ok.” (kiss)

Then she stood up, pulled her gray sweater-dress over her head and threw it on the floor. There she was, standing in the middle of her living room, wearing nothing but little white socks on her dainty cute feet.

Someday Victoria is going to be walking around a bookstore, holding hands with her husband, because that is what you do when you walk with Victoria—hold her hand. She is going to see my book there, in hardcover, and suddenly exclaim (Victoria does not yell, she exclaims), “That’s my book!”

Her husband will roll his eyes and say nothing. Long ago, he gave up trying to decipher the mystery that is Victoria.

And that, my 7.3 readers, is why I started thinking about writing a novel, so long ago.