Crimson Winter: How it all started

Ruins of Sapphire, Vol 1 of The Crimson Winter Trilogy is our most recent release. It’s currently ON SALE. You can check it out in our store. It is available as both an ebook and as a paperback. Get the Ebook for FREE with the code FREEBOOK, or if you’re local, free paperback delivery with the code WEDELIVER.

I remember very clearly the day I sat down and started writing Crimson Winter: Ruins of Sapphire. The story itself is based on a roleplaying game I was a part of at the time, one that I was very wrapped up in and couldn’t seem to get out of my head. Or, perhaps more accurately, I had been living in this fantasy world of my friend’s creation for some time and I didn’t want to leave it. 

It was for that reason I decided to start writing. I was thinking about the beginning of the story and how it had all started and I realized that I didn’t want to forget a single moment of what had happened. I wanted to preserve it, so that years later I could simply re-read what I had written and not one minute of the story would be lost. 

When I write a first draft now, I write it to experience a story, to work my way through it and see what happens, then I edit later. Crimson Winter was different. Writing the first draft of Crimson Winter was all about getting the story down on paper and out of my head. It was about recounting memories and not missing a single detail, so later, while editing, it was about polishing and taking out those things that didn’t end up being all that important to the story. Because, you see, when I started writing Ruins of Sapphire, the roleplaying game was still going on and the story wasn’t finished. In fact, the game never actually ended, but that’s a story for another time. 

So that first night I was at work and it was a slow night. It was just me and a computer in the office, waiting to see if anyone would come in. I believe it was a Tuesday, which if you read the novel, you’ll understand why this is ironic. 

I wrote the entire first chapter that night. (That first chapter is now much, much shorter and what survived of it has become the prologue, but at the time it was chapter one.) I did it by remembering what it was like to stand in that park in my mind’s eye and be surrounded by four teenagers I thought were gang members until they each lifted glowing red-jeweled necklaces and started using some kind of power to trap us in a red field of light. I put myself in Yukari’s shoes and tried to imagine what it would feel like to be suddenly confronted by the supernatural when you were an extremely intelligent and logical high school student. She did what any of us would do. She called the cops and when that didn’t work; she threw her cell phone at the barrier. No wait, her shoe, her cell phone was far too precious. 

That night was a turning point for me. I wrote the second chapter the next day, and after three months of frantic, constant writing and I had a 130,000 word first draft. I originally self-published it in 2010 and now, ten years later, I’m re-releasing the series though Mirror World Publishing. I’m so glad I wrote it and for all the memories I was able to capture and I hope by reading it you get to escape, even if just for a little while, into the vivid world of Crimson Winter.

2 thoughts on “Crimson Winter: How it all started

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  1. Wait…you wrote 130,000 words in 3 months? That’s impressive! Congrats on reworking your baby and bringing your tale back into the world! Cheers and all the best, Justine!

    Liked by 1 person

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