Chris Rice Cooper
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****ES Gibson’s THE ACE OF DIAMONDS is #194 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt. All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece.
Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? The working title of the piece is "The Ace of Diamonds" though in conversation I often just call it "Charlie" after the protagonist. (Above Right: ES Gibson in August 2020)
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I began The Ace Of Diamonds on July 24th, 2020. It is still unfinished but as of August 11th I'm about halfway through the first draft manuscript.
Most of my writing happens at a computer in a mini living room that my boyfriend and I call "the campsite." However, The Ace of Diamonds was actually started on my cell phone when I couldn't get to that computer.
What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I tend to start writing early in the morning, between 9 and 10 AM, and keep going till around 3 or 4 PM. I write on a computer. I keep water and the occasional Gatorade nearby and I always have music to listen to, usually making specific playlists for specific work. With Ace of Diamonds my music is almost exclusively jazz and blues. My strangest writing habit with Ace Of Diamonds is that I tend to write it while wearing lingerie and a full face of make-up. It's a little weird but it really helps put me into the main character's head.
Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as reference. This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. *Excerpt Trigger Warning* Foul Language, Graphic Violence.
It was around the fifth consecutive kick to my vagina that I wondered if the man towering over me had something personal against me, or if he was just more accustomed to beating the shit out of men and typically went for groins. I had also considered that of all the horrendous things that he could be doing to my box in a back alley, multiple kicks to it were preferable to just about everything else. Although, at the moment I didn't exactly show gratitude. More incomprehensible sobbing and the occasional attempt at an inhale or exhale. These things did happen of course, but they were supposed to happen if you walked down Ivar street alone. Not right outside the Pantages.
Eventually, the ogre decided he was tired of my crotch, (a rare experience for me if I might brag) and moved up to my ribs, giving a few kicks to them. I think he was wearing steel toed boots. Nice ones, probably expensive, definitely stolen or gifted. The thought of this man sitting around a table with friends and family, grinning with a birthday hat on and unwrapping a pair of nice boots would have been funny as hell if I wasn't currently on the wrong side of them.
"Gee, Thanks Aunt Martha." He'd say in what I imagined was a thick Brooklyn Accent. "I can't wait to beat the everloving piss out of some cheap, gaudy floozy with these."
I am not actually cheap, gaudy, or a floozy, but he was beating me, and I had pissed myself, so I suppose I'd give him credit for trying. Before he’d showed up, I was having an excellent evening. In a brand new black evening gown and real pearls that I’d gotten for an absolute steal. I had been waiting just outside the metro station when Prince Charming appeared and gave me a swift punch in the stomach. From there we'd tangoed farther back into an alley. They're usually gated, so I was shocked at this man's incredible luck, and I put up a fight, but I'd only recently taken up fighting as part of my workout routine. This man had two cauliflower ears, a flat nose that I'd bet money hadn't started flat, and the physique of a failed Captain America experiment. I didn't stand a chance.
No words, no explanation, just a brutal attack. I think that's what pissed me off to be honest. If I'd owed money to a crime syndicate, or was a career criminal, or slept with a politician's wife or husband, I could at least say, "ya know, I think I had this coming." But I didn't, I wasn't, and I hadn't, so instead confusion was more palpable than any sense of guilt or justice. I had almost lost consciousness, I think; I'm not used to these situations, you have to understand, when my attacker stopped and pulled out his phone. A flip phone of all things. He dialed quickly and I had a chance to breathe.
"Yes" He said "I need an ambulance, immediately. There's a woman here, someone's hurt her. Badly. Yes thank you." He held for a minute. My confusion grew, and I asked what the hell was going on. Well, I actually moaned loudly and puked, but in a way that I was certain effectively communicated, "what the hell's going on?"
"6233, Hollywood Blvd. Yes." The man said. "Absolutely. My name is-" He snapped the phone in half and kneeled over me.
He growled, then stood and left. I had at least a good thirty questions to ask, but he seemed disinterested with my feeble attempts at holding his attention, and only a few seconds after he left my sight, I blacked out.
Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? This excerpt represents a lot of firsts for me as an author. It was my first time writing from a first-person perspective, my first time writing in a genre other than fantasy (which I've been writing in for 20 years), my first time writing as a pantser, and it was at the time one of the most blatantly violent scenes I'd ever written. All this combined made it a scary and exciting experience for me, and it was much easier to get into Charlie's head for that. I’m remarkably proud of this little page for the leap of faith that it took to get it written. Beyond that, while I’ve never written crime fiction, it is one of my favorite genres. To look back at this excerpt and see that it felt like it belonged in that genre was quite a rush for me. (Above Left: ES Gibson in September 2020)
Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. I’m still in the drafting process for this particular work, so the scene hasn’t actually changed at all. I do have a small corkboard that has been serving as a guide or a light outline, and that’s changed quite a bit since I started writing The Ace Of Diamonds.