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.


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. So forgive me if this has been asked somewhere before, but I haven’t seen it if it was. This is going to be volume one, which implies further volumes of episode-by-episode commentaries on TNG. How far is this intended to go? Just through the seasons in which you appeared regularly? Or all 7? I realize that most of the stuff on the last 3 seasons would have a lot less of the personal anecdotes, but I, for one, would buy 7 books by you commenting on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    After reading a few of yout TV Squad reviews to her and then telling her of this upcoming book, this was my wife’s first question as well. Admittedly, we’re not going to each buy the books, but surely that indicates the potential for a larger market, right?
    As an aside, we watched “The Game” a couple days ago, and my wife could not stop saying, about you and Ashley Judd, “they look so cute together!” And I found myself wondering how often you bring up the fact that you totally got to kiss Ashley Judd back in the day, to prove your superiority to the masses. But seriously, we agreed after it was over that it was one of the best Wesley episodes of the series: the writers managed to write a “Wesley saves the day” episode that does not make us annoyed at how “smart” the kid is–he’s genuinely intelligent and forward-thinking and even heroic. Plus, he gets the girl (even if he does go back to the Academy at the end, never to see her again), and you totally feel like he deserves it.

  2. Wil,
    This is one of your many great entries. To me, you have a gift with your writing abilities. You may always have something fun to do if you are good at more than one hobby.

  3. reading the comments i remebered something i did years ago. i use to write some (very) odd research software. only would ever have a few users who didn’t care much for the pretty but wanted to be able to have simple interfaces. i use to label the buttons with things like “make it so” or “helm control” that kind of thing.
    i did it to amuse myself mostly but the thing was that no one EVER asked me about the buttons. or asked me rename them. and they were paying!
    i use to have even more fun with error messages.

  4. It is so crazy that you wrote this today, I just watched farpoint earlier today. Which is even more insane since it has been ages since I have watched an episode of Star Trek. I think you need to stop stalking me, Wil.
    Ps. I bet this is the first time a non-celebrity has accused you, a celebrity, of being a stalker.

  5. Wil,
    I’m a big fan of your work, as are a lot of our readers. We run a monthly 5-day trivia hunt and I’d love to drop some clues here in the comments of your blog for our readers. I’d link to your post(s) and send everyone over here a couple times during the trivia hunt. If you mind, please delete this comment and I’ll drop the whole idea.
    If you’re into the idea, I think it could be a lot of fun for all. The next trivia hunt begins next Tue.

  6. Dude, you were in Farpoint? I was all of twenty one and staring at Troi and Tasha…
    Just kidding, I knew you were there, the Wesley character just was not my focal point. Having said that, there was a few episodes where you were front and center. I cant wait for this to come out, must have book.

  7. I’m sure the “Encounter at Farpoint” entries will be plenty funny. Not every episode has within it enough stuff to truly gut-busting. Sometimes all we can hope for is to gently chuckle, shift our eyes away, and agree to never speak of such things again. At least it’s no “Code of Honor.” For what it’s worth I can’t wait to read this. Truly.
    Also, Wesley was never lame, just… excitable sometimes. And no sweater can ever compare to the glory of RainbowShirt Wesley. Gosh, I coveted that shirt so badly when I was a kid. (Shut up, I thought it was cool back then. I was a dweeb. Wait, I overshared again, too, didn’t I? At least I never did anything drastic like paint an action figure to look like the shirt. Heh. *shifty eyes*)
    I hope the project that you hate ends soon and that you come to an agreement with your voice. Can’t wait to hear about what else you’ve been working on.

  8. I’d say that was pretty damn funny. I’ve always loved the dog references with Worf. One of my favorite Q lines is, “Eat any good books lately?”

  9. LOL. Ryan, that is so silly that it’s funny as hell! Reminder: I’m in sleep deprivation mode again, so whatever I say really shouldn’t be taken very seriously.

  10. Wil, as I’m sure that you totally ignore my tweets because of how annoying I can be, I actually sent you one last night that I thought was pretty cool.
    OK, so Twitter is doing some sort of contest where people can submit tweets and other Twitterers (did I just make that up? Is it even a real term? Ahhhrg! I’m flashing back to Stephen Colbert’s coinage of the word “truthiness.” lol) can vote for their favorite saying and they’ll make a T-Shirt out of it. In my current sleep deprived state, I thought this would be perfect for you because you were basically the first notable geek to sing the praises of Twitter and are quite possibly responsible for why it’s so popular in the first place.
    So I nominate you to represent us geeks by coming up with a witty tweet slogan and submit it for the contest. Here’s the url: in case you’re interested. Come on, Wil, think of the geeks and their joyful faces when you totally win this contest (Monkeys, this is where you come into the picture. Rock the shit out of your votes!) by an ass kicking landslide. Think about it, will you?

  11. Hah! This was nice to read, as I’m in the midst of a writing project which I hate and want to be over so I can do something new, which makes me hate the sound of my own stupid fucking voice. Always nice to hear that someone else is suffering too, ha ha…

  12. woooo! I’m glad it made someone laugh. I was in a fairly sleep deprived state when I wrote it, as well. It’s true though, Wil is a total creeper. Be sure to look behind your back often for him.
    Also, I am aware that there is probably some earlier blog entry that I have not had time to read which would answer my question, but I’m sure many people here will know. What is the origin of one “L” in Wil?

  13. OMG, I was just thinking about the rainbow shirt last night, cracking up about it because Picard promotes Wesley to “Acting Ensign” only to have him wear that rainbow shirt instead of a Starfleet Uniform, or even a Starfleet Academy uniform! WTF?
    I’m sorry, Angie, but that had to be humiliating to wear for both Wil and Wesley. I guess it could be considered cool or cute for a girl, but for a teenage boy? That adds up to a big old pile of suck. I think the only thing worse than the rainbow shirt is the clown sweater. (Seriously, that sweater is effin creepy!) Personally, I liked the grey uniform a lot better than the rainbow shirt.
    On a more random note, I actually still have my TNG trading card collection and I have a Wesley Crusher card where he’s wearing the grey Provisionl uniform and a Wil Wheaton card, where he’s wearing a Starfleet Officer’s uniform on the front, and a Starfleet Academy uniform on the back. Both are circa 1991, which was Star Trek’s 25th Anniversary year, and are also original Skybox edition cards, which was bought out by Fleer a few years later.
    I have no idea if any of the cards in my set are worth any money(most likely not), but I do know that at one time the Enterprise-D Hologram card was worth $40.00 at Conventions if you wanted to buy one.
    I already had one, which I kept in a clear plastic sleeved binder with all of my other cards and brought my collection with me to a Con once. Being a stupid kid at the time, I thought that it would increase in value over the years and wouldn’t sell it to some shady Convention dealer for $30.00. I even argued with the guy because I had seen the one that was being sold for $40.00 earlier that day. Then, a few years ago, I saw one being sold on eBay for $5.00. Man, did I feel stupid! Oh well, guess I just have to chalk that one up as a “live and learn” experience.

  14. I believe that it’s short for William, which is actually Wheaton’s middle name (shhh…don’t tell him that I told you about that!), and since I have absolutely no room to talk about unconventional spellings of names, I really don’t have much of an opinion on the subject. My Mom thought she was being clever by spelling my name the way it is instead of using the traditional spelling of “Danielle,” so I just tell people that she’s illiterate. LOL.
    In all seriousness, though, I totally got thrown out of class in my Sophomore year of HS because my Religion teacher had the audacity to say that I have a “pagan” name. I believe my exact words were “Go fuck yourself, Fatal!” because the guy was fat and his name was Al, so fat + Al = Fatal. From what I’ve heard, the name stuck and students are still calling him that to this very day, 20 some odd years later. lol
    Damn, sleep deprivation can totally make you feel drunk out of your flipping mind!

  15. I always assumed the shirt was rainbow because Wes was not technically an
    ensign in any clear department – engineering, science, command – so his
    unorthodox position demanded an unorthodox uniform (Something that had all
    colors on it). That’s why I coveted it – it was a nice blending of all the
    departments of Star Fleet. Also, my version of the ’80s has a lot of
    rainbows in it so I always liked the retro throwback. I’m sure that shirt
    wouldn’t be embarrasing to *every* teenage boy, too (Humiliating is a strong
    word. I certainly hope that while some costumes are embarrasing none were
    “humiliating”). While it might have looked odd to us in the 1980s and ’90s I
    assumed it was not embarrassing for Wesley, though it might have been for
    Wil, because it was Wes’ uniform and it signified that he had achieved some
    level of respect in the bridge crew’s eyes. No longer was he a lurker in
    orange sweaters – he was an acting ensign. Of course, it’s just a costume
    and as we all know, it seems that everyone in the future has… interesting
    taste in fashion (See any non-Starfleet uniform piece of clothing any
    character in any version of Star Trek has worn, ever).
    Ah, yes, I had a fair stash of ST trading cards. I used to carry some in my
    pocket when I was in middle school. I’d take them out and look at them when
    I felt upset during the day. Picard, Data, Wesley and the rest reassured me
    during the day. Wait, crap, I overshared again, right? Ah, well. I have no
    idea how much money they’re worth today. I think they’re worth as much as
    another fan is willing to pay, usually for sentimental reasons.

  16. That is apparently the last time I respond via email as TypePad screws up the formatting. Sorry for the ugly formatting, fellow comment stream readers!

  17. Wil, first I have to say thank you- your posts on 4e were the first positive things I heard about it and made me think maybe I could understand combat in this system (2 weekends of 2.0 play and I still did not get it). And further, I think the podcasts inspired our DM to get a game together.
    Now, to get relevant. In this new game of 4e I am playing a dragonborn fighter. (After realizing that the dragonborn are the more likable Klingons of the D&D universe.) I had lots to do in combat, but once it came time for any roleplaying I suddenly understood how Worf felt- wrong. I will have to ask the rest of the party not to hit me on the nose with a scroll or something. 😉

  18. My favorite Big Dumb Worf line: “Good tea. Nice house.” We still use that line around the house.
    And dude, you are totally not the only guy who had a crush on Debbie Gibson. She should have totally taken Tiffany in a catfight (would have paid to see that). I think I made a little girlish fanboy squeal when I heard about her ‘comeback’ on Highlander: the Series. I’ll call you Deborah if you want me to, sweetie.

  19. I am glad to see that someone else likes LEVERAGE. I couldn’t get anyone I know to watch it. Awesome show. Its good to know that a writer I like (that being you) also enjoyed the show.

  20. I know! I did the same thing the other day and said almost the same thing you said about how screwed up the formatting looked. But since I broke the page by forgetting to close a bold tag, I better shut up about text now.
    I never really thought about Wes’ rainbow shirt before the way you so eloquently put it. Then again, I rarely ever say anything eloquently at all, especially in sleep deprivation mode. Perhaps humiliating was too strong a word, or maybe I was just channeling my own 14 year old self while I was thinking about the rainbow shirt and projected my own “God, I would have been humiliated if I had to wear that shirt!” mentality onto Wesley or something. I am sure, as you pointed out that Wesley was probably over the moon (literally) when he finally got to don any kind of uniform. Even a rainbow shirt. Only Wil would know how he felt about wearing it, but my mostly guy friends had some pretty unflattering things to say about that shirt, and Wesley, for that matter.
    Oversharing? I do it all the time, which is nothing new to anyone who has the bad fortune of reading the drivel that comes pouring out of my sleep deprived brain while I’m posting a comment here.

  21. My two favorite Big Dumb Worf lines are “Congratulations, you are fully dilated to ten centimeters. You may now give birth.” to Keiko in “Disaster” and “A warrior’s drink.” to Guinan about a glass of prune juice she had served him in “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” My mom loves prune juice, so whenever she’d be drinking a glass of it, my Stepdad would say in Worf’s voice “Ah, I see that you are drinking a warrior’s drink!” every single time. It never got old.
    As for Tiffany and Deborah “Don’t call me Debbie” Gibson, they totally should have done an episode of Celebrity Boxing with the two of them. It would have been interesting to see who would have won.

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