The lyrics from "As Time Goes By" say that "a kiss - is just a kiss," but as any romance reader knows, that kiss is all important in setting the stage for the romance to follow.
Romance writers use a kiss to convey a variety of things:
a: innocence of your heroine
b: the awakening of passion between hero/heroine
c: need to and desire for the ultimate union of two people
d: the dreaded goodbye
It seems so easy in the movies, guy meets girl, they look into each others eyes, they kiss, love blooms. But, when writing, authors don't have the luxury of frame after frame of visual stimulation giving rise to idea of love. It must be done with words to draw the reader in, connect with their real life experiences, and stimulate emotion. A lot of work for just "and they kissed".
Authors know their readers seek the desired touch, then followed by the joining of lips, that's why they picked up the book in the genre of romance. Even in suspense, we need that bit of humanization. And while it is expected for the reader to bring their first hand knowledge of a kiss to the book with them, our words must paint the picture, help to release the endorphins in the brain, so that desire can occur.
I can't imagine Clark Gable and Vivianne Leigh just walking on the set of Gone With the Wind and creating the famous kiss fleeing Atlanta just before they reach home. (Hum, wait - it was Gable - perhaps he did). Like any other scene in a movie, it was blocked movement by movement, rehearsed, noted where close ups would be taken in order to get the full effect by the camera. Writers must do the same. We must block in our movements, rehearse through revision, and in the text leading up to the pucker, create the noted back story and sexual tension.
We will be talking more about the kiss, the clench, the brush off in the coming weeks. What you might want to do until we meet again is look over the book you are reading and place a posty to mark the places where hero/heroine kiss. Then, look at your own work. Do your words measure up? If not, perhaps some more revisions are necessary to make your work a contender.