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Love Scene Workshop … critiques by Sharon M. Johnston

Friday, 22 February 2013  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Over the next few weeks, some really special friends of mine are stopping by to critique participants’ love scenes. Please join us and find out what’s working and what’s not with our lucky winners’ scenes. 

And here’s something about my next guest … 


Twitter: @S_M_Johnston

I’m thrilled to have Sharon critique a love scene today! We work on contests together and her blog is one of the blogs hosting my upcoming Pitch Madness contest. Sharon is the Marketing Director for @EntrancedPub, a Writer, an Aussie, and a PR specialist at her day job. She contributes to the @yatopia and #AussieOwned blogs. She writes all kinds of young adult stories and has a fondness for Speculative Fiction. 

Sharon’s critiques

TITLE: The Shadow Walker

GENRE: YA Paranormal Mystery


“She had a crush on Ben Affleck?”

 “She was of the Good Will Hunting generation.”

 “Your mom was a fangirl!” he teased.

 “Hey! Shut up about my mom!”

 “I’m not shutting up about it-“

 “You better!”

I really wanted to know more about what was going on physically here instead of just having dialogue. Was there playful touching? What reaction was this playful banter do to her.

 “Shh!” He leaned over and kissed me.

He caught me off guard. I heard a Mmm! come out of the back of my throat, surprised. I had never been kissed  before. My heart almost leapt out of my chest and my ears thundered. Oh wow… Words couldn’t describe this. I had seen kissing before in movies, but this felt like

 I shouldn’t be seeing anybody kiss at all, it was so private and exciting and… wonderful. He was definitely an amazing kisser, but then again, I had never kissed anybody else for comparison. His hand slipped behind my head, holding it, his fingers threading through my hair. It felt like the world was beginning and ending with his lips on mine.

For me, this last sentence needs to be at the top (and it’s extremely hot!), and I want more details! Describing kissing is hot. Don’t tell with – he caught me off guard. It’s already shown in the next sentence.

He pulled away from me and I was the one breathing like I had just run a mile in under ten minutes. I must have looked like a complete dumbass. There was nothing cool about me right now, I was completely flustered.

Again – more showing and description required. He pulled away lips wise, but are his hands still touching her? What physical reaction do her lips have now his aren’t pressed against hers? Don’t tell us that she’s flustered, describe her physical reactions. Does she tuck loose strands of hair behind her ear, is she unable to look at him, is a blush rising up into her cheeks?

“I’ve wanted to do that to you since you showed up on my front porch to ask me out.”

I heard myself giggle idiotically in response I was so embarrassed. I was convinced I’d never be cool.

Your overplaying her thinking she’s not cool. Is I was so embarrassed meant to be a different sentence. Is there another way that you can describe it to give some imagery?

“Wait,” he whispered. “I think that’s my dad.” I heard the crunch of tires against gravel and a low-rumbling engine.

“What?” I cried, shooting up to my feet.

 “That car. I’m not supposed to have a girl over when he’s not home.”

Overall this was pretty cute. But there’s some descriptors missing. Don’t forget to let us know about smells, taste, touch – these can all be very sensual and a lot of fun.

Come back tomorrow for more love scene critiques

Comments welcome! As always, be respectful and kind with your comments.

Filed: Workshops

  • Ooooh love scene critiques! So good to see examples… Thanks for doing this. 🙂 I agree very much with Sharon.

  • I agree with Sharon. I’d love to see the entire scene slow down. Let us really get into the mind of this character, to feel the tingles right along with her. Give us time to step into her skin – sight, touch, taste, smell, sound… Engage all the senses! You can start building the tension and anticipation right from the beginning by adding some details in with the dialogue. What kind of interaction are they having as they discuss her mother’s celebrity crush? With only the sparse dialogue to guide us, we have no idea what these characters are thinking or feeling, and the sudden kiss comes out of nowhere. Even if your main character isn’t expecting it, the reader should be all tingly with anticipation by the time his lips meet hers.

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