In early 2008, Disney's Toontown Online finally released an important and long-awaited update: Bossbot Headquarters. At this point, there was much talk going around about future plans for the game, particularly the plot involving the cogs. Was Bossbot Headquarters the last Cog HQ? Everyone knew that the crates in Cashbot Headquarters were stamped with the words 'Cog Nation,' but what did that mean? Was it hidden in the sewers? Was it somewhere leading from the mysterious tunnel in Acorn Acres? Was it evidence of a whole new neighborhood? Whatever the case was, there was a lot of speculation going on, and nobody could agree on any one thing.
I had been playing Toontown for a while, but some things still disappointed me. It was difficult to progress in the upper areas of the game outside of the Nutty River district. Other aspects of the game didn't seem to be up to par with the standards I believed the amazingly creative cogs vs. toons story deserved.
At this time, I decided to try something that I had wanted to do for a long time but had not tried before. In July 2008, I wrote the first chapter of a story called Gears, and I had no idea of what it would become. The story was about a group of toons who gathered together to go on an epic journey to find out where the cogs originated. I first posted a chapter on a popular fan site, and I followed up with small chapters on about a weekly basis. Much of the writing was done in the library at my high school where I could work out the frustrations that I felt during the day. As I went on, I drew inspiration from many other sources. I realized that my story was quickly evolving from the small story that I first had in mind to a large, more serious novel in the works.
I wrote and wrote. Some days were harder than others, and occasionally, during difficult times, I went months without working on a chapter. But the book was my labor of love, and it turned out even better than I had hoped.
After two years of work, all chapters were complete, many of them had changed and been combined in the process. I added a prologue and an epilogue which made it forty chapters long in total. It was the longest Toontown fan fiction in history, but that wasn't the most important thing.
Without me being fully aware of it, I shed new light on the world of Toontown. It was a world that started with Who Framed Roger Rabbit and evolved into the land where the cogs invaded. I tried to think outside the box. I wondered what it would be like to work as a cog. I tried to figure out how they felt. I tried to fit the many pieces together such as the mysterious first animation of Scrooge McDuck going to see his friend Gyro Gearloose.
In the end, I had a very unique piece that covered not only Toontown but many of the struggles of life. It was full of sadness, humor, and fantasy, all in a beautiful world. It inspired more readers than I expected. It changed the way others and I saw Toontown and the world in general. Finally, I believed that the world I loved was complete.
The following years were quieter but much more difficult on me. I still received emails almost every month with praise for the old story. I considered writing a sequel but quickly became discouraged every time I started. Then in 2012, I decided it would be best if I practiced my writing skills again by cleaning up the old book. During the summer, I revised Gears for its second edition, correcting a lot of mistakes and adding plenty of details that explained things more thoroughly. Now every chapter was somewhat consistent in length, and the entire book was over a hundred thousand words. I took the subtitle of the book, The Legend of Toontown and decided that it would be the title of the full trilogy. I was reinvigorated with the thrill of writing again and planned out my next books, Graphite and Generations.
I'm still amazed at how many of my personal feelings have made it into this story, straying further and further away from Toontown, even though it still remained a Toontown story at its heart. Graphite is more serious than Gears and contains more of my life experiences translated into fiction. Generations is almost entirely about my fight with my personal demons.
At last, I decided to finish the series, and I set the deadline for July 28th, 2018, exactly ten years from the day I started it.
It took a lot of willpower to leave this alone, even though I know it will never be perfect. There are still things I wish I could change. In the end, though, the most important thing that matters is that I had a great time creating this, and I made a few other people happy. This series might not be for everyone, but I believe it can still be enjoyed by those who feel the magic that the world of Toontown creates.
I hope the story will inspire you and give you a unique perspective. But most importantly, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. Thank you for reading.