Boy, there sure is a lot of pain, and it is painful. For Troi and the audience.

…let me tell you all about the pain.

I've written enough books and things to identify a few milestones along my creative road. When I was … well, I almost said 'still figuring this out', like I have it all figured out, which I don't, so I'll try again: When I had even less figured out than I do now, it would freak me out when I was convinced that something was horrible and I sucked and I was stupid and they were all going to laugh at me and cover me with pig's blood. Now I know that feeling that way is just a landmark on my creative path, and when I feel that way I can recognize it as just part of the birthing process.

This isn't to say that I don't know how to recognize the difference between feeling like something sucks when it actually doesn't, and feeling like something sucks because it really does suck and it's time to let it go and move on to something else. I think it's really important for all artists, especially those of us who work independently, to train the hell out of this skill, and get good editors (or the editor-equivalent) to make sure we use it.

I've recently discovered two new labor pains, and they're driving me crazy: "I hate this and I just want it to be over so I can do something new," and "I hate the sound of my own stupid fucking voice." Unsurprisingly, they arrived together and made a lot of noise until I recognized them for the labor pains that they are.

Speaking of labor pains, I have accepted that the Farpoint entries in Memories of the Future aren't going to be as funny as Justice or Naked Now. I was making myself crazy trying to force into being something hilarious, when all it's going to be is amusing, which was wasting my time and annoying the pig, so I've put the Farpoint entries to bed. Here's a little bit from part two that I think doesn't suck:

Picard bids farewell to the Hood and walks onto the bridge, just in time for Q to appear on the main viewscreen. Worf, full of Klingon piss and blood wine vinegar, leaps to his feet and draws his phaser. Picard whacks Worf on the nose with a newspaper and tells him to put his toys away, because blowing a hole in the viewer isn’t going to get rid of Q any faster. (It is at this very moment that the Big Dumb Stupid Old Worf drinking game is born, one of the few Star Trek drinking games to span multiple series and movies, joining the infamous “Transporter Has Capabilities Never Seen Before Or Since” and “Scene With The Character The Writers Really Hate But The Goddamn Suits Made Us Include” hangover-makers.) Q tells Picard that he needs to solve the Mystery of Farpoint within 24 hours, or he will be summarily judged by Captain Q's Kangaroo Court, where he faces death beneath an avalanche of ping pong balls.

And…

Hey, speaking of things that are lame, here comes Wesley Crusher, who is so busy talking about how awesome the holodeck is, he falls right into some of its totally awesome and entirely realistic water, soaking his awesome brown sweater in the process. Luckily for Wes, he has a closet that is filled with those horrible things, and in the very next scene, we see he's changed into a spiffy green number (which, if I must be honest here, was the sweater I hated wearing the least. Yes, it was ugly as hell, but it was much more comfortable than the other ones, and was nearly baggy and lame enough to pass for something you'd wear if you were 14 in 1987 and had a huge crush on Debbie Gibson. Not that I ever did. The posters were just up there for show, man. And I did the autographs myself with the same marker I used to draw tanks for Ogre. Uh . . . I’ve over-shared again, haven’t I?)

So, it isn't hilarious, but it's amusing, and that's just fine with me, especially because it means I'm nearly finished with all the heavy lifting on Volume One. All I have to do is set a course for The Last Outpost and make the synopsis less tedious (very hard to do because the episode is two things: tedious and more tedious). Once that's done, I go through the whole thing one more time to polish it up and make sure that the behind the scenes stuff is just right.

I'm still on my release schedule (well, maybe a few days behind) but it's all coming together. This is pretty awesome, because on the horizon, I can see my favorite milestone on the creative path: "Holy shit it's done and I finally get to share it with readers."

77 thoughts on “Boy, there sure is a lot of pain, and it is painful. For Troi and the audience.”

  1. I forget, were audiences of Farpoint subjec… err… blessed with the presence of Wesley’s grey-and-rainbow jumpsuit? Or did they have to wait until later in the season to behold that glory?

  2. I feel soooooo old. Those made me smile and brought me back to the first I time I watched them *gasp* almost 22 years ago. (I almost typed 12 as wishful thinking).
    I was watching my old tapes the other day with my youngest (he is 10). We were watching “Unnatural Selection” and “A Matter of Honor”. One of his first comments (aside from his many questions yet again about the weaving of the Trek Universe) was, “Wow mom, those are some bad special FX.” I took a deep sigh and said, “You know monkey butt, those are awesome special FX for umm… 21 years ago.” His response, “This show is that old? WOW, that is very old.”
    Is it just a me phenom, but do all of us 30 somethings still “feel” like we are 16 (in our hearts, maybe not bodily wise) and we have such a hard time coming to terms with “HOLY SHIT that was like forever ago, am I really THAT old?”

  3. I’m with Jules here. That’s a huge leap from 13 to 35, and yet I remember it all like it was yesterday. Enjoyable read there, old man. Show of hands on who else besides me enjoyed reading it? Oh, yeah, that’s right, that would be EVERYONE.
    Wil, just stop. Criticizing yourself is like beating a dead horse at this point. Obviously, you are a fantastic writer, and quite funny, as well. But don’t take my word for it, since I’m that chick who busts your balls for being a year and two months younger than me. Just take it on faith, and the faithful masses of Monkeys have come to the consensus that you are way too hard on yourself, man. Knock it off! Before the mean teacher comes back and takes away your toys. For good! And replaces them with Budweiser. And makes you drink an entire case of it.

  4. There, there, Mr W. Funny is a by-product, surely. I, for one, don’t expect your tales to be funny. I expect them to be true. And the painful honest truth, as you always tell it, is usually hilarious. Or tragic. Or both. Either way, eminently readable.

  5. No, Jules, it’s not just you… I turned 37 two weeks ago, & I still can’t believe it. In my heart I feel somewhere between 12 and 17… My body sometimes feels 20, but usually feels closer to my real age. Where has the time gone?!? Now get those damn kids off my lawn.
    -Alicia (@AliciaWag)

  6. Yeah, edit function expiration is not my friend. That sentence was supposed to read “But don’t take my word for it, I’m just that chick who busts your balls for being a year and two months OLDER than me.”
    And that, old man, I will never, ever let you forget :P

  7. Dude, I laughed out loud.
    Don’t beat yourself up too much. The worst thing we do as writers is self-edit. We’re often much harder on ourselves than need be.
    And Jules, I *totally* feel like I’m still a teenager and I sign on 100% with the “that was HOW long ago!?” I think part of that comes with realising your oldest/youngest kid is TEN. Something about ‘decades’…

  8. Wil, I think you are way too critical of yourself and your clothes. For those of us who love TNG and your character, we were watching the young man with incredible self confidence and technical solutions which most always brought a positive resolutions to impossible problems. I have lost track of the number of times I have seen every episode. But I can tell you that when I have had a stressful day, there is nothing like a marathon of TNG episodes to calm me enough to get some sleep. And when the titles roll and I see that you are going to appear, I consider those episodes golden.
    I often wonder if you fully realize the valuable contribution you made to the series.

  9. Ping Pong Ball Avalanche reference FTW. Thank you for not managing to work in a PicturePages joke, thus sparing me the indignity of actually snorting milk out my nose.

  10. LOL “Get those damn kids off my lawn” spawns another story re: my monkey butt 10 year old.
    He has taken his hand at writing comics and story boards for movies and books he is going to write when he is older.
    He did this one comic where he summons Yoda to deal with some punk trick-a-treaters and one of the lines he was going to do was “Kids, get off my damn lawn!”
    I wonder where he got that idea from. I asked if had overhead me reading on of Wil’s comments, and his response was,”I don’t think so Mom. I just spend a lot of time around old people and know how they think and talk.”
    I think that was his round about way (even so I have never said that as I love it when kids cut through my backyard to get to the trails in the forest) to call me old.

  11. I had a laugh at those. ;) But not too loud because I’m at work and probably shouldn’t even be writing this at the moment. But I must do it now because in a little over an hour I’ll be at the movies contributing (yet again) to the Star Trek fund. Yah!
    I remember those sweaters of Wesley. Ye gods!
    Time, it flies. :)

  12. LOL Well, I got that saying from Wil Himself… Good for your son, though, for being so creative!
    -Alicia (@AliciaWag)

  13. My oldest will be 14 in September. However he is trapped in a 16 year old’s body and thinks he has the knowledge of a 20 year old. And the aliens have finally abducted him. I have the actual date it happened circled on my calender.
    Where does the time go *nostalgic sigh*

  14. Haha! LMAO, Debbie Gibson posters! Wow. I did like ONE song by her, but I would have never admitted that to my friends because I was (and still am) all about Metal, baby! \m/
    My walls had Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Iron Maiden, etc. and yes, there were several holes behind those posters. When I moved out of my parents’ house (yes, I still had posters on the walls, but I updated them with bands that came out or I discovered in HS), man were they pissed!
    Most of the holes came from me and one of my sisters getting into fist fights all the time. Over Nintendo! I used to make up songs to the music in the games and put “Dody’s gonna die here…” in every single one of them. LOL We put each other through the walls so many times I lost count after a while. Good times.

  15. I can’t wait for this book to come out. I have at least 2 people who need this for a gift. Maybe 3. And I live with one of ‘em , so I’ll get to read it, too!

  16. Hey, I know what episode you’re referring to! That was my favorite recap out of all of them, Wil. I still crack up at your rendition of Wesley skipping pixie-like to the turbolift. I cannot wait for this book to come out.

  17. Sadly, you aren’t the only one. I turn 36 this year and my daughter turns 18 in a few months. She loves Red Dwarf, but can’t quite bring herself to “Grak” Star Trek in any of its various forms, though she WILL sit through Voyager occasionally. Whenever I sit down to a bit of nostalgia she has away of making me feel uber ancient.”OMG, mom, is this the best they could do with FX?” “Gee, Honey, that didn’t make me feel old at ALL. Thanks” I still feel 15-18, until those moments occur. Thank God, I still have a 9yr old and 3yr old to bring to the darkside.

  18. My oldest is turning 10 in October. He is also trapped in a 15 year old’s angst-filled “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” body. As the mother of two boys, I am at once anticipatory and melancholy about the day I realise their voices have changed and they’re stinky…when I had them, I think I always figured they’d be lovely, cuddly, warm, sweet boys for the rest of my life.
    The one thing I desperately hope for is that my boys will always be huggers. And willing hugees.
    Personally, I think the time actually physically squips out through the cracks between things – the cracks between floorboards, the space between the hinges and the frames of doors. I think of it rather like an ephemeral flickering cloud of sentient dust, and it swirls away in the evening breezes to a desert somewhere in the Dreaming. And sometimes, I get to go there and see my kids again with their chubby toddler fingers and their gleeful, unselfconscious laughter full of joy. Because, I like to think, there is a desert in Dreaming that is full of the time that slips away.

  19. Wil, I know the clothes were dorky, but it was such a Cool Show. And the costumes for NG (all of them) were better than the velour shirt, which would shrink, in TOS. :)
    And you’ve grown into an incredibly neat writer and person. I’m looking forward to the book!
    One of my fun things, when NG was being shown in order in continuous loop on Spike TV. We’d go from “All Good Things…” to “Farpoint”, talk about watching a show and the actors change and develop. And the severe case of whiplash. :D
    And for those of you feeling old, I watched Farpoint with a jaded eye of someone who watched TOS as a teenager. They had A Lot of Winning Over they had to do. And luckily they did. :)
    And yes, you will always feel that way about Your Trek. That being the Trek you watched as a teenager. Nope, won’t change even as Shatner gets balder and Nimoy hands Spock to a new actor.

  20. I’ve got to say, I love your other works, but I haven’t looked forward to a book the way I’m looking forward to this in ages. Serious question: when can we start pre-ordering?

  21. Well even so my oldest hit puberty at 10 and is the only one of his peers that has to shave at 13. Even so the aliens have abducted him and he is making some very stupid choices at the moment, we are still extremely close and he still wants to hug and cuddle and does not go “gross mom” when I hug and kiss him in front of his friends. He is always telling everyone who will listen how cool of a mom he has that is willing to have open dialogue and answer any questions he asks. When his friends ask him “why does your mother have blue hair?”, he smiles and says “my mother is weird like that.” When I dyed my hair a “normal” colour last year, both my boys freaked because it was “normal” and I thought that is what they would want now as they got older and they said “mom you need to be weird because it is fun and not an embarrassment.”
    So having said that, hopefully your boys, like my boys, despite the time they are seeking their independence and making stupid choices, will still seek you out for the really important stuff, like huggling (hugging/cuddling, my new word for the day)

  22. Hi Wil,
    I just wanted to say “Thanks for the years of archives you’ve got on your site.” Until about a month ago, it didn’t really register anywhere in my brain patterns that you had a blog. I know, shocking. It wasn’t until I started getting into Twitter a month ago, and decided to follow you, that I got a link to your work here.
    I’ve used the past month to read through everything you’ve done In Exile (but still haven’t gotten to the older links), and have just yesterday caught up to the present. I’m a little sad, because now I have to wait for more of your entertaining (and oddly heart-warming) posts, like the rest of the internet.
    Next step is the buying of books. I’m trying to decide between ordering them now, or buying them from you directly at the next PAX (which will be my first).
    A new fan,
    Rick

  23. Dude!
    *I* have blue hair!!!
    What are the chances?
    Actually, mine’s kind of purple right now (oldest son’s hockey team colours), but yeah. My hopes are that my boys will do exactly that.
    Power to cool mums of boys!

  24. I’m going to stick with my story that the Farpoint review would the pinacle of humor in the book if it were written as a musical. Or maybe you could review Farpoint as if it were a musical. Maybe you could even include a few excerpts from the lyrics. And play the review off completely seriously as if it really did air as a musical.
    This book is going to be a huge success. I know because I came here from the future — to ensure that the musical bit makes it into the book. The future depends on it, Wil.

  25. (Behold as I comment on a tangent to a tangent!)
    Speaking of OGRE, I totally got my fiancee to play it with me the other day. She didn’t much care for it because it was too easy for her (she played the OGRE), and maybe a different war game would be better. I think it’s obvious why I’m marrying this girl.

  26. Yeah, I turn 36 this year, too. Where the hell did all the time go? I don’t have any kids, though. I think being a Preschool/Pre-K teacher effectively stopped my biological clock lol. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love kids, but it’s great when you get to give them back at the end of the work day. I’ve had some very creative and amusing students over the years. One of them in particular, Christopher was his name was always breaking the “We don’t play Power Rangers at School” rule – which was enacted because I was sick of the kids kicking one another in the face/head area. I would catch Christopher playing Power Rangers all the time, and when I’d say something to him, he would reply “No, Miss Danyiel, I’m playing Walker, Texas Ranger!” So I had to make up a “No playing Walker, Texas Ranger” rule, too. After catching him a few more times, we had a “No playing Jackie Chan” rule, a “No acting like Billy Blanks” rule, and the kid would just come up with more excuses! I loved that kid, he was GREAT!

  27. I cannot wait to buy this! :D
    I loved every single review you posted… it’ll be great to pull out the book when one of those episodes comes on and follow along :)

  28. “I hate this and I just want it to be over so I can do something new,” and “I hate the sound of my own stupid fucking voice.”
    Just wait till you get “You’ve asked me to cut corners and compromise my craft because of the stupid arbitrary tv schedule, and have asked for a dozen completely wrong things for me to do, and now want me to make a judgement call between 2 wrong options and all I can see is WRONG everywhere I look”. That’s a really fun one. Oh and how about “You’ve asked me to rush through a dozen shots, and now, with 2 hrs before the absolutely last possible drop dead, ask me to do something really creative that I would have loved to do 2 weeks ago, but it’s 3 am, my eyes are horror-of-dracula red, there’s a high pitched buzzing in my ears, and I’m tasting copper, and just realllly want to go home”.
    Good times, good times…

  29. BTW… I like the Farpoint stuff so far – are you doing the entire series episode by episode, that you were in, or will you also cover, as a viewer, the episodes you weren’t?

  30. You’ve just identified why I have so much respect for people who can write good television (LEVERAGE writing room, I’m looking in your direction) and why I’d never want to even attempt it.

  31. That was pretty awesome. Im happy it’s all comin together… and hey!! I liked the pumpkin orange sweater!! I don’t know what satisfied me more.. when you were wearing the orange sweater or when Wesley first got promoted to the red suit. HA. (Which by the way was a bad-ass episode. I have it on VHS along with 9 other episodes.) “Naked Now” was the 1st episode I seen of TNG. Wesley was so freakin wasted. It was hilarious. =]

  32. I’m glad you over-achieved on the Farpoint entry because that post was hilarious! I haven’t checked the giggles-per-paragraph ratiometer for an exact figure but I think this entry ranks pretty high so far. I’m saving my pennies for the book, let me know when we can pre-order it.

  33. I agree with many of the others in that you are too hard on yourself.
    This may be a birthing process for you, but that doesnt mean you can’t do it without an epidural!.
    You wouldn’t have as many follwers if you weren’t engaging and very humorous and erst while thought provoking.
    As for my .02 I believe these as key ingrediants to any good story whether fictional or factual.
    keep on doing what you do!
    Oh and by the way.
    Congratualation’s ..mom and pop ..it’s a writer!!

  34. Yeah, I’m 33 and keep feeling like I should be in middle school when ST:TNG first aired. I have a 3 year old son and I’m fortunate that at this stage anything I play for him movie or TV-wise that I used to watch growing up he just eats up like candy. Whether it’s Superman, Star Wars, or even the Greatest American Hero, he just loves it all and will ask for it by name. Now with the new movie I’m working on the indoctrination of Trek with him. We’ve watched a few episodes on reruns and I was concerned he would get “Trek” confused with “Wars”, but that quickly went away. Now when he sees the Enterprise D he knows to say “Star Trek” with the same wonder and excitement he says everything else. Now if I could just get my wife more into these things, but she’s from a completely different culture having been born and raised in Zambia.
    One final thought here: Wil, don’t be so hard on yourself. You are funny and a very good writer, but if you really think that the Farpoint chapter that starts your book is going to be such a bummer compared to what you know is to come, then make it chapter two and write a chapter that sort of introduces everything and tells people a little about you as a person going into Star Trek. That way when they read the parts where you aren’t liking Farpoint too well, then they’ll already understand that this just wasn’t your cup of tea yet because they have a feel for you as a person (and not just as Wesley – which I understand you don’t like from people). I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out and would like to help in selling it if I could. I’m working on an online store that I hope will be up and running this year. If you are interested, I’m following you on Twitter as @beyondthecharts, so send me a message and I’ll tell you more.

  35. Wil, there’s a reason that you make money on this and others do not. You are willing to face your creative demons and do the work that puts the book on the table. Yeah, you’re just making stuff up as you go along, but that’s what you do. Nothing complicated, just sheer willpower.

  36. LOL, I just love how the Chief Engineer lady (I forget her name, did she even have one?) screams “These are isolinear chips!” at Wesley and Shimoda, who’s just throwing them up in the air like he’s playing a game of 52 card pickup, and Wesley says “It was an adult who did it!”
    Come to think of it, I believe that’s where I got the idea for the “It’s all Wil’s fault!” card. You know, because he’s a year and two months more adult than me.

  37. Art Linkletter: Kids say the dandest things and do their best to make you feel OLD…. My 8 years old Grandson and I were driving to the Icecream Store, while I was engrossed in finding a good song on the radio; I found one called 409 by Brian Williams, Mike Love and Gary User LEAD SINGER Mike Love(June 13th 1962) a year where I was his age…Robert turned to me and said WHAT KIND OF MUSIC IS THAT GRANDPA… Foregetting who I was sitting with, and turned and said: THIS IS THE FOUNDATION of todays music…He said that is music…Sorry Brian, Mirk and Gary…. How old does one have to be when someone younger doesn’t something that makes you feel older then you are…. I was not going to get into the play I did in Collage (ONE FLEW OVER THE Cuckoo’s Nest) Ha!

  38. But Wil, if you did write what you know is that not the same thing as those that write for television? they are just writing what they know not what they don’t know.. What is on their mine is their’s and they are giving it to others, that is what you do when you writ a book is it not? Then much of the time it isn’t the writing is is the person that delivers the words of the writer…. attempting something you don’t know is part of the growing process!

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