The Connor Wars Writer’s Room 29 – Reflections

As the season winds up, I thought I’d look back at some of the process that got us here.

It's a lot of scripts.

When you read F0322, the last scene is one that I’ve had in my head since before I started the first script. I’m a very big proponent of the idea that to have the best hope of telling a coherent story, you have to know how it ends (or how a season ends, in this case). There are many ways you can travel to get to that destination–I’ve taken a few unexpected detours myself–but as long as you know where you are headed, you can still get the story back to where it needs to be.

Those unexpected detours? Well…in the very first draft of the season, Cameron was a no-show. It was going to be Camenry helping John. It didn’t take long to realize that this wasn’t going to be good for the story and it certainly wasn’t going to make a lot of you all happy. Plus, I wanted Cameron back as much as you guys. Even so, I waited until episode 13 to reanimate her. Why? In large part it was so you’d get to know Allison better. If I had put Cameron in from the beginning, I don’t think Allison would be quite the fan-favorite she’s become. Not having Cameron allowed me to develop a lot of the characters that made this season well-rounded.

I’ve mentioned on a few occasions that the Sarah storyline in the past was something that I struggled with. I needed to fill in some gaps to setup events in the future to make the pay-off better, and that’s basically why I decided to do it. Telling the past storyline non-linearly, now that was a gamble. Originally, it began right after John and Weaver’s time bubble vanished from the server room. After I wrote the first draft–which included Cameron being in the vault–I realized that if I told the past story in a linear fashion, I’d dilute the impact of the story I was telling. So I figured that as long as John’s story was told linearly, I could try my little experiment with Sarah’s. I think it worked OK.

It wasn’t until July that it truly dawned on me how sizable this project was. I had gotten past the “new” stage and was looking at six more months of writing. Yeesh. In the nine months since I started, the only really difficult time-management period was during the holiday period just before the U.S. Thanksgiving at the end of November on through to just after New Years. With the obligations that December seems to visit on us, it took some real effort to make sure the scripts got out on time.

The most unexpected, and one of the happiest, aspects of this project has been you all. It has pleased me more than I can express that y’all not only like the story but have also put forth your own efforts to grow it and spread the word as well as letting me know what directions you’d prefer me to take. Y’all have been super.

So…what’s coming up?

As I mention often so you don’t stop too soon, the season finale isn’t the end of the story. If nothing too horrid happens, I’ll be pushing out a few more scripts to finish the tale…and stay on the same schedule we’ve been on. Here is a tentative list of what is to come (these are working titles):

  • F0401 – Plasma
  • F0402 – Gas
  • F0403 – Liquid
  • F0404 – Solid
  • F0405 – Ether
  • F04S1 – Wood Shavings

This is completely subject to change, so don’t hold me to it. You’ll notice that the last episode has the code F04S1. The “S1” indicates that this will be a theatrical screenplay. No act breaks, slightly different storytelling structure. It seemed like we should end this ride in a big sort of way. Since a screenplay is at least twice as long as a regular episode, it might be a little bit of a stretch to have it done two weeks after F0405 is posted. If there’s any delay to any posting, it’ll probably be there.

And then–after all the words are typed–I’ll take a few days off and get a little bit of sleep. But that’s not going to be for a while, yet.

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