In early 2008, Disney's Toontown Online released an impressive and long-awaited update, Bossbot Headquarters. At this point there was much talk going around about the future plans for the game involving the cogs. Everyone knew that the crates in Cashbot Headquarters were stamped with the words 'Cog Nation', but what did that mean? Was it something in the sewers? Was it somewhere leading from a 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 not very many people could agree on any one thing. Lots of stories were written, mostly short, disappointing, and unworthy of the grand idea that Toontown and Cog Nation were to me.
I had been playing Toontown for a while but was saddened by some things. The way it was difficult to progress in the upper areas of the game outside of Nutty River was disappointing. There also seemed to be other aspects of the game that didn't seem to be up to par with the standards I believed the amazing cogs vs. toons story really 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 gathered together in the new bonds of friendship to go on an epic journey and find out where the cogs originated. I first posted a chapter on the fansite Toontown Central, and I kept posting small chapters later on about a weekly basis. Much of the writing was done in the library at my high school where it was a good way to get out the frustrations that I was feeling during the day. As I went on, I drew inspiration from many more sources. I realized that my story was quickly evolving from the small story that I first had in mind to a very large novel in the works.
Unfortunately, serious disagreements with the staff of Toontown Central led me to remove all traces of the story from their site, but I had only completed the first chapters. I did not slow down at all. I wrote and wrote. Some days were harder than others, and occasionally I would go months without working on a chapter. But the book was my labor of love and it turned out even more spectacular than I thought was possible. As I reviewed my own chapters I wondered what force had caused me to create something like this.
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 total chapters long. 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 many topics of life, especially those of human struggle. It was full of sadness, humor, and fantasy, all in a beautiful world. It inspired many more people 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 from 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 to the second edition, fixing up a lot of mistakes and adding plenty of details that explained things more thoroughly. Now every chapter was above two thousand words 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 (which are still being written).
I'm 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 will be much more serious than Gears and contain more of my life experiences translated into fiction.
In the end, though, the most important thing that matters is that I had a great time creating this, and I made a lot of other fans 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 of things, but most importantly, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. Thanks for reading.
-- Evan Holloway (Evina)