Monday, 17 January 2011

RWA Little Gems Garnet Short Story Contest

The RWA has a series of writing contests each year from September through to April. Now we're at the tail end of the season, I plan to enter the Little Gems and First Kiss contests.

The remaining BIG one is the Valerie Parv Award.

Last year my short story Finders Keepers was published in the Little Gems Topaz Short Story Anthology. It was one of 14 short stories that made the 'cut' from 60 entries.

This year's gem is the garnet, which must feature somewhere in the story. Judges award an extra point if the gem is 'used creatively as an integral part of the story'.

In last year's winning stories, topaz featured variously as the colour of the hero's eyes, the name of a cat, the name of a company, a creek (with a vein of topaz nearby) and as a gem. In my story, the hero knew the heroine's birth stone was topaz and bought her a topaz pendant. You can't get more creative than that (read the irony, dear follower).

I didn't want to use jewellery in this year's story, so my garnet pops up in imagery designed to evoke a sense of time and place for the reader. What this means is that I had no idea what I was doing and found an appropriate use for the garnet as my story 'evolved'.

Mmm, could I call the cat Garnet? There's already been Gar-field and he was a very unattractive cat.

What about a company? But why have Garnet Enterprises when you could have Ruby Pty Ltd? 

Could it describe the colour of the hero's eyes? Maybe if I wrote a paranormal...

I guess it's gotta be Garnet Creek. But even that lacks pizazz.

Garnets have an image problem. And they literally pale in comparison to the precious gem of a similar hue, the ruby. 

I looked up the differences between a garnet and ruby. There are many, and colour is one. One of the websites explained the colour difference: a typical ruby will have a light red to medium red hue, whereas a garnet will have a burgundy or mahogany colouring. In some cases a ruby may also be mahogany, but it will also have a clarity that the dense, less refractive garnet will not possess.  

This makes it more of a challenge to weave the garnet into the storyline, although it does have a fascinating history and, like many gems, comes in a range of colours including green. But who's gonna believe that? 

Anyway, story's written and the garnet makes a brief appearance.

To learn more about the garnet, go to which gives a comprehensive run-down on this misunderstood gem. 
 My next project is to hone the chapter in my wip where the hero and heroine lock lips for the first time. And then there's the Valerie Parv contest.

Anything is possible. Sort of.

PS: I know this is totally unrelated, but I didn't do the Avalon swim last Sunday because of a health issue. Hopefully, I'll get to Mona Vale this weekend though I hear the surf was huge today.


Anita Joy said...

Good luck with the comps, Shayne. I'm sure you'll do well! Are you trying for the 5DI?

Oh, and hope the health issue has resolved, hugs, A x

Shayne said...

Hi Anita
How's Brisbane? I have a friend who lives in Nundah and she says they are on high alert.

Nope, not entering 5DI. It's all too hard and I have to work.

I hope your writing in going well. Are you entering the Valerie Parv?

Shelley said...

garnets are all well and good but what about instead featuring a gannet, an easy, single-keystroke error to make and a much underrated sea bird with lots of potential for imagination and romance... vis a vis, heaving swells, open ocean voyages, mating for life... purity of the white feathers, you see where I'm going with this?? I dont know about you but I'm liking it.

Shayne said...

Why aren't you writing romance?