Snazzy Snippets: Valentine Edition (with utterly unromantic snippets)

Hello world! Before we begin Snazzy Snippets today — there is an #ADSOMreadalong for the wonderful A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, in anticipation of the release of the sequel A Gathering of Shadows in February!

We'll be having Twitter chats, so join us on 1, 8, 15 and 22 February at 9 PM EST with the hashtag #ADSOMreadalong. You should absolutely join us if you've already read ADSOM, have it on your TBR, or enjoy badass pirate ladies, killer magic, and cinnamon roll princes.

And now!
Emily talked me into a Valentine edition, and I thought, why not? After all, a lot of writers love writing romance, and I always accidentally write unhappy romances. Everyone gets to share, yay!

(Don't worry, non-romance writers — feel free to adjust the prompts for platonic love if you prefer.)

Newcomers, I co-host a bimonthly link-up with Emily @ Loony Literate called Snazzy Snippets. What's it about?
Snazzy Snippets is an opportunity for writers! Every two months, we post a prompt or question for you to share a snippet of less than 500 words. It’s designed to let you have fun, analyse your work on a smaller level, or just write something to join in.

If you’re not a writer, or aren’t working on anything, don’t go back up the rabbit hole just yet. Read everyone’s wonderful snippets on the linky!
Still have questions? Snazzy Snippets has its own page on the blog, with FAQs and more. Take a look! And remember: this isn't just for novels! The prompts were designed with novels in mind, but most are also applicable to short stories, poetry, anything. We welcome all types of writing!

Valentine prompts!

A heartwarming snippet that makes readers go “aww!”
A kissing snippet
A snippet where love interests first appear together 
(applicable for both future or established relationships)

Again, feel free to adjust these prompts for platonic love if romance isn't your jam! And remember to include your post URL in the linky. I'll be sure to visit ALL your snazzy snippets.

1. A heartwarming snippet that makes readers go “aww!”

Okay, I'll be honest, I don't actually have one. My romance subplots are not fluffy, okay? But there is a Matryoshka flashback for familiar love I'm rather fond of:
On his fifth birthday, his father brought Thomas a dagger with Mexrenne gilded on the blade. “People will always scorn you. For being a southerner, for being illegitimate, for being at all. If they hurt you, laugh it off and hurt them back.”
I ... wait, is that even heartwarming? IT IS IN MY BOOK. (Yay, triple pun!)

Thomas was born out of wedlock and didn't get to see his father much, but they did love each other. Thomas basically spends the entire novel walking in his father's footsteps, which may not be the wisest thing when one's parent started a war. And lost it. *squishes the idiot*
In fact, Thomas' father made many poor decisions in life, which resulted in his death. Spoiler! Oh wait, this is a story about finding revenge for his death. Join my takeout army before 12th February to read a spin-off short of Thomas' father's death! Not all is as Thomas thinks it is; rather problematic for a revenge story. *grin*

3. A snippet where love interests first appear together

Thomas tucked his hand behinds his back to hide the sweat and the shaking. He noted down the boy’s features one by one. Hair the colour of Niteran sands, eyes like the rivers of Valz Sommari, long fingers that slipped in and out of his pockets. His uncle would find out who this was in no time.

“I’m Daniel, the Chancellor’s assistant. Friends call me Dan.”

“We’ve just met. It’s too early to tell if we’re friends.”

“You’re too quick to judge if we should be friends.” Daniel—Dan spent his grins as freely as a bird might fly. ...

[Thomas:] “Kindness means nothing to the dead.”

“And vengeance does?” Dan’s whiplash reply might have made Thomas smile, but the other boy pouted his pink lips.

Thomas placed a hand over his heart and bowed. A bastard ought to be humble, even to a glorified cupbearer. “We began on a bad note, Dan, and I beg your pardon. Perhaps we might begin again.”
Thomas: raised in exile to play politics, child of the last provincial Governor and his much smarter lover. Dan: survived on the streets through a war and managed to find work in less shady parts of town. Their tongues are a little too sharp for each other.

It's no coincidence that their banter involves a great deal of parallel syntax — there's even more in the rest of Matryoshka. I knew from the start that these two would be love interests, but somewhere in the second draft, Thomas and Dan became polar opposites in morality and temperament.

Tweet this snippet and share the banter! It is, after all, one of their more civil meetings.

2. A kissing snippet

Blookunity, I would love it if you could be more critical about this snippet. I have zero kissing experience and I have this niggling feeling it shows. So help me improve this snippet!
“Can I do something mad?” Dan said in a low voice, his eyes never leaving Thomas’.

“I spent half my life in exile for a father I saw twice a year. I come back with an avenging widow and a merchant who trades in smiles. I’m accusing the most powerful person in Valzyr of murder when he’s defended by the only judge who’s doing her job in the country.” Thomas dropped Dan’s fingers and stepped close enough to see the other boy’s eyes widen. “You couldn’t make my life madder unless my father rose from the dead. Under the circumstances, mad is normal. Mad is good.”

Dan kissed him and tucked fingers around Thomas’ neck as if looking for an ocean in his trembling throat. The constellations could have torn apart and rained hellfire down on them, and they’d never notice. Not until they burned together.

Dan pulled away first. They were both panting heavily, as if they’d already run all the way through the capital. “Well, that was worth getting into this mess.”
There is a lot of character soup here, but it does sum up the story quite nicely.

Widow: Thomas' immensely superior mother Aisha, who is the family strategizer.
Merchant: Thomas' slightly more superior uncle Ramzi, who is the family fundraiser.
Most powerful person: Mallister, Prime Minister + murderer of a lot of people.
Judge: Kim, our sassy hanbok-wearing justice lady who kicks so much ass and takes no nonsense GAH. Nope, I'm not playing favourites.

Oh wait, was I supposed to talk romance? *shrugs* Uhh ... they may have been talking intensely just before this scene, and you know how movies have the guy kiss the girl to shut her up? This scene is a little different—first off, no girl; secondly, Dan asks permission.

But maybe it's a terrible kissing scene so again, would love critiques in the comments!

Oh oh oh! And if you like the sound of my WIPs, there may be a very exciting opportunity on February 27th, my birthday + blogoversary party! Or if you're impatient, I'll send out an extra Matryoshka scene on February 12th, so join my takeout army to read that scene.

Which is your favourite snippet? What are your thoughts on romance?

Twitter-sized takeout:

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