The Connor Wars Writer’s Room 35 – That Was Nifty

The Writer’s Room with answers to stuff you’ve been asking will be any day now. First, this short indulgence from the perpetrator of this madness.

It’s been a very long year. It was an exhausting year, both physically and mentally. And I can’t remember having more fun playing–ever–than with TCW. I’ve described it as being like having a birthday or Xmas everyday for a year. Or…as Willow put it in the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer after she channeled huge magicks through her to sybaritic effect: That was nifty.

This isn’t to say it was always easy. Jim (my reader) had to endure some periods where the going wasn’t so smooth. I’d have a hole in the story that needed filling and I was missing a shovel. Still, they got filled. Eventually.

“Sharper Than a Terminator’s Truth” – F0313, was perhaps the most stressful story to write. Everyone had been patiently waiting for Cameron to wake up. I’d even written a criminally bad scene that had each of them saying to the other what I wanted them to say. That was written more than a month before I even started the script. The reawakening loomed over the three or so episodes that I still had to write before I got there. There were other stressful episodes, but none like that one. That’s the one I had to get right.

The abridged fourth season was interesting. Season 3 was mapped out from the beginning and then the structure was refined a few times as the stories changed the “what could be” threads into “posted, so you have to deal with their legacy” scripts. Somewhere around November/December, I figured out who won the war. I knew the final scene before I wrote the first script. And that’s all I had. So Season 4 was a bit more seat-of-the-pants than Season 3 had been, as Lumir can attest. That’s not my preferred way of doing writing projects–I like them mapped out better so I know where I’m going. Even so, the Muses blessed me with Clio, which helped the story-telling process a lot.

When I started the project, I figured that I’d probably have about four real stinker episodes. I’m not talking “meh”, I’m talking total fish-wrap. But they didn’t happen. Though I’m sure opinions will differ, I’m stunned and pleased that I don’t think I had one. Sure, there are episodes that are weaker than the rest, but I think they’re all at least in the same ballpark with each other.

Mostly, I’m happy that I did everything I wanted to do. I proved to myself that I could write this many scripts in an insanely short amount of time–I always believed I could but never had to put that belief to the test. I pretty much got the story that flashed in my head at the end of BtR. There were some things that ended up different, but not big enough to quibble about. I got closure. Even though there are many dangling sequel threads, I felt that the core story was told. I’m able to stand back and say: OK, then.

And then there is everyone who hopped onto this train with me. It turned into something bigger and a bit more special than I ever expected…and that’s because of you all. While I was writing it for me, I was writing it for everyone else, too. That was a goal: to have people as equally frustrated by the cancellation but excited about the story that could have been, to feel like an actual end had been reached. Sure, a totally unofficial and non-canonical end, but an end nonetheless. Not everyone agreed with my choices: from the screenplay format, to how I treated John and Cameron, to…well…if it was in the story, I’m sure I heard about it from someone. And that’s as it should be. Thanks to everyone who took time to take at least a peek at what was happening here.

Anything left that I’d wish for? Sure. I’d like to know if anyone on the show read any or all of this and if they liked the effort. I’d like to know if anyone in the industry read and/or liked it enough to consider me for a writing gig (not going to happen, because that’s not how it’s done, but I’d be lying if I said it never flitted through my head). I’d have liked to have written a few episodes better. Truthfully, I’d have loved to have written a Jameron version in addition to this one (I’m not against John and Cameron together, it just wasn’t the psychology of the story I was telling.)

The thing I wish most of all: that I didn’t have to stop. I love this story, and it is sooo much fun to write. I can’t thank my family enough for letting me have this indulgence. I love being a writer!

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