CB Kennington

About CB Kennington

I was the kid behind the book.

Thoughts on Adoption

By |2019-03-18T15:55:05+00:00March 18th, 2019|Categories: Adoption, writing, YA contemporary|Tags: , , |

Most of the main characters I write are affected by adoption in some way. That’s because I’m an adoptive parent, and I wanted to put books into the world with kids like mine.  People often ask me what it’s like to be an to be an adoptive parent? The short answer, like being a non-adoptive parent.  You love your kids so much sometimes you think you will explode. You worry about your kids so much sometimes you think you will explode.  (There is a long answer, because the specific issues you face are unique, but more on that in future posts.)

From the moment I knew my children existed, I was in love.  It’s hard to describe just how amazing it is to literally meet your children. My heart pounded with anticipation, and I thought it would never stop pounding, but then for a second it did, and the whole world was still. I looked at them and they looked at me and we zinged. And that was it. I became fully focused on seeing the world from their perspective and figuring out how to make that world the best place for them. It happened in a fraction of a second. We looked each other in the eye and in my heart I said, you’re mine and I’m yours and come hell or high-water, we’re in this forever. I like to think it was love at first sight for them, but I definitely know it was for me.

 

Like Jello

By |2019-02-22T03:27:26+00:00February 22nd, 2019|Categories: writing|

I’ve discovered something important: life is like Jello.  I’m like Jello.  My new all-encompassing life philosophy came to me after swimming laps one day. When I went to get out of the pool, my arms felt like Jello.  I actually ended up walking over to the ramp because I don’t think I could have hoisted myself out.  It was a long ramp and gave me ample time to consider the irony of the situation.  I work out because I was beginning to feel like Jello. Then I get done working out and I feel like Jello.  Either way…Jello.  But one type of Jello makes me feel better than the other.  It’s like the lime of Jellos (which is my favorite).  The good type of Jello happens because I worked hard and accomplished something.  The bad type happens when I do nothing.  So if I have to be Jello for the rest of my life I might as well be lime.

Writing is the same.  If I work hard, my brain feels like Jello when I’m done.  But I have a shiny exciting story in front of me.  If I don’t work at my writing, I lose some of my groove and writing skills.  My brain turns to Jello.  Or even more Jello-y than it was to start with because according to my husband our brains are sort of the consistency of Jello anyway.

Why I love WHAT ABOUT BOB

By |2019-02-21T02:55:54+00:00February 21st, 2019|Categories: Baby steps, What About Bob?, writing|

My husband hates the movie What About Bob.  He’s a psychologist and thinks the idea of a patient stalking you to your vacation home, then subsequently winning the hearts of your family and driving you insane, sounds more like horror than comedy.  I, on the other hand, love that movie.  I have a soft spot for the antics of Bill Murray.  What can I say, I’m from the Ghostbusters generation, but that’s not the only reason I love it.  I actually think it contains some sound wisdom.  Really, I do.

Sometimes I wonder if the producers of What About Bob knew they’d be doing the public a favor when they made the movie.  And I’m not talking about raising the awareness of bladder explosion. (Which is real, by the way.  My sister had a patient in the ICU whose bladder had exploded.  That is the honest to goodness truth!)  No, I’m talking about the sound psychological advice contained in the pages of Dr. Leo Marvin’s book, Baby Steps. I wish I could actually buy that book and read it!  Unfortunately it doesn’t exist.  Though I can imagine what it would say if it did:

When facing an overwhelming task (such as doing a gigantic pile of dishes), do not look at the whole chore.  Simply break it down into manageable chunks.  First say to yourself, I will do the cups and only the cups and so forth.  

Okay, so a famous psychiatrist might not bother with telling you exactly how to do the dishes, but that’s how I use the advice.  Baby steps to load the dishwasher, baby steps to wipe down the counter, baby steps to fold the laundry.  It makes me laugh and I get things done.

I think most of us as writers are pretty much baby step specialists.  After all an entire book is written letter by letter, word by word, page by page.  Sometimes when I start a new project (after the initial new book rush), I look at all the work that needs to be done before finishing and I get overwhelmed.  Then Bob’s voice comes into my head, “babysteps to the elevator” “baby steps to get on the bus” and suddenly I know I can do it!  What about you, do you baby step your way through life or am I the only one who loves this?

Four Rules for Editing (and Remodeling)

By |2019-02-20T22:39:31+00:00February 20th, 2019|Categories: Editing, writing|Tags: , , , |

You would think after overseeing MANY remodels and the construction of a 3 new homes, I would be a pro at that kind of stuff.  And I am much better than I used to be at handling projects, but every new project brings new challenges and problems.  And as I work on my current house, the writing and editing metaphors are pretty clear. Here are my four rules for writing and remodeling.

1. Preparation is EVERYTHING.   The right tools, a clean surface, a level floor, a solid foundation… the basics of good storytelling, plotting, grammar, constant reading, and practice.

2. Don’t rush.   Make you paint lines straight and clean.  Measure your flooring before deciding where to cut the planks.  Let a new story idea ruminate, write down a major outline.  Flesh out your characters on paper or in your head.  Whatever your process is, perfect it. I often find that if I take the time to write down even a one sentence outline of my chapters, the plot holes and arc become much clearer. Doing things right the first time (whatever that means for you in your individual process) saves so much time in the end.

3.  Get help from friends and professionals!! You need it! Don’t attempt to redo major plumbing or electrical repairs on your own.  Make sure you have two people for two-man (woman) jobs. Find great Beta readers, make friends you can help and who can help you.  Establish genuine and mutually beneficial friendships.  Accept critique and feedback. Your beta reader/agent/editor has your best interest at heart. They want you to succeed. And if you doubt that, then it’s time to find someone who you trust.

4.  Take a moment to enjoy finished projects.  Ignore the flaws for a while.  Wait a few weeks before attempting to redo anything.   If you’re not sure about a paint color, look at it in all lights and at all times of the day.  If you LOVE a paint color, look at it in all lights and at all times of day.  Insert the word “scene” or “chapter” or “book” instead of paint color and the rule is pretty much the same.

These are my basic rules for remodeling and editing.  Yours might be different than mine, but either way I believe it’s important to have them and reevaluate them from time to time until you find what works.