By Keith Kareem Williams
The Countdown to the Deadline
7 Days to Write
First, I’d like to thank my co-authors for their grace and mercy. They extended the deadline for 1st drafts when I was the one dragging. Thanks for believing in me and my wacky creative process.
Creating a short story has been more difficult than I anticipated because I’ve grown so accustomed to having much more space to work with. A full length novel grants me ample space for character/plot development, and conflict resolution etc. At this point, I have a new respect for authors who specialize in short stories. This project has come close to driving me insane on more than one occasion. I’m also certain that “The Prerequisites of Perdition” and sleep are sworn enemies.
When DK Gaston, KR Bankston, Elizabeth LaShaun and I made the official announcement that we were going to create this anthology, I was filled with excitement. I respect those authors’ talent greatly so I found myself feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve with huge presents labeled for me under the tree. Before long, that wore off and I realized that I didn’t have a story to write. I have a super-secret, spiral journal with ideas but none of them were outlined or designed to be short stories. To make things worse, my mind was completely submersed in the creation of my 3rd novel, “Monsters, Mirrors & Smoke.” I was trapped and I found it almost impossible to pull my mind or my energy away from it. Fortunately, I wasn’t completely lost.
Years ago, I’d written two paragraphs of a story I’d dreamed up about a depressed woman who almost let her children die on purpose. It was titled, “Dark Mother” but there was a problem. It was still only an idea and I had no idea what to do with these two paragraphs, written so long ago. Then, for the first time since I’ve been writing, an unfamiliar feeling overwhelmed me. Fear crept into my mind and caused me to doubt whether or not I could re-create the magic of the ink where I transform almost nothing into something memorable. Even now, I’m not certain that I’ve accomplished that. (I’ll leave that for the readers to decide.) However, I can finally say that I am proud of the story I’ve written. The process has also taught me a valuable lesson about creating these stories.
The biggest flaw in my creative process as an author is self-criticism. I’ll spend days re-writing a single, hand-written page. I’m always satisfied with the end result but the same could be accomplished by letting the work flow and then revisiting it at a later date. This was an important obstacle for me to overcome, just to become a more efficient author. I usually can’t keep up with the stories that I dream up because it just takes me too long to write them. I think I’ve taken the 1st step to having better time-management skills when transferring my thoughts to paper. (It does get confusing at times because I’m not completely sane.) But, if I plan to be what I know I can be, consistency is one of the keys to achieving that.
Thank you, the reader, for listening to me ramble. Be ready. This anthology is going to be amazing.