My husband walked in and gave me a strange look.
“Have you been sitting there this whole time?”
It’s not that he has anything against me sitting. Especially in my comfy reading chair surrounded by a stack of books, papers, and a cup of coffee. It’s just unusual for me to stay in one place for very long.
I raised my coffee cup to my lips to give me a few seconds to think of an answer. My coffee was hot when I sat down, but now it was ice-cold.
“It depends on your definition of ‘sitting there’.” I replied with a smile.
My bottom had been firmly planted in that chair, but I had not just been “sitting there.”
During that time I rescued 3 of my characters who were trapped on the side of a mountain.
I also researched how to write a sword fighting scene, since one of my characters was about to face off with an enemy, and I’ve never held a sword in my life.
“Sitting there” sounds so passive, so un-creative. I’d been toggling, and toggling is an action verb.
To “toggle” is to switch from one setting to another. For me, and probably any other fiction writer, it is the act of switching from one world to another.
I’ve been toggling for months now as I’ve worked on this story. Many days I feel like I have one foot in reality and the other foot in the world I’ve created. I try to limit my toggling to my writing time, but sometimes problems and solutions toggle between the worlds as well.
The world I’ve created is beautiful. Hopeland is a combination of my favorite places: Mississippi, the Smokey mountains, and Ukraine. But this beautiful world has a problem. Hopeland is being destroyed and its characters must fight for hope in order to defeat the forces of evil. These characters aren’t strong or powerful, and victory feels impossible.
This started out as an adventure story for my children, but it has grown into so much more.
It is a letter to my younger self about what is really worth pursuing.
It is a guide for my children as they walk through this life.
It is a call for all who read it to fight for hope in spite of circumstances.
It is a fleshing out of my current favorite statement by Dan Allender: “Hope is by far one of the most dangerous commitments we make in life.” and shows that hope is essential to life, and worth every effort to fight for, especially when the outcome seems uncertain.
When I look around at this world, I see the need for hope. I see a generation of children who need to know how to fight for hope, how to have courage to do the right thing at the right time. They need to experience the strength hope gives us to fight the battles in our lives. Through this story, I want to show my children (and other readers) what the fight for hope looks like by describing how a character their age courageously fights. And possibly, when the battle begins for them, they will remember their friends in Hopeland and find the courage to fight for hope in this world.
This will definitely involve many more cold coffee moments as I toggle between worlds in my comfy chair.