Hi, I'm interested in hearing a bit about how you write Garnet, if you have the time. Thank you!
Not sure how strictly writing-related I can make it, but I’ll certainly give it a try!
I went looking for earlier wordy Garnet posts, and I found some here, here, here (this post is quite old and kinda funny to read with what we know now, but it - and its tags especially - still reflects a lot of my main Garnet feelings), and here, if you want to check them out.
I think one of the most important things to keep in mind with Garnet in general and that I see people struggle with post-Jailbreak is that she is her own person. In a writing sense, this is especially important if you’re going for Garnet POV. If I want to include Ruby and Sapphire in things, and I often do, the way I kind of conceptualise it is that, rather than Ruby and Sapphire piloting a mech called Garnet, you have Garnet going around with Ruby and Sapphire sitting on her shoulders and occasionally chattering like those little angels and devils they use for consciences in old cartoons, you know? A bit like in this promo.
Fusion is obviously a concept that has both none and many parallels and almost-equivalents to us humans, which is, I think, what makes it so fascinating, and why writing from the POV of someone who lives her life as a fusion is both challenging and interesting - and potentially very rewarding. Fusion “headspaces” like the stuff we’ve seen in the show with Malachite and Stevonnie can be an interesting thing to explore. In Garnet’s case, there’s sometimes just one person there, but most of the time it’s really three people - only in times of great upset or crisis, close to splitting apart, does it become two. She’s also not this even split of Ruby and Sapphire traits that can be neatly sorted into two baskets or whatever, and things like “Garnet is crying out of this one eye, means it’s Ruby who is upset” just don’t work. Keeping It Together is an amazing episode for getting a better understanding of Garnet and I feel I’ve rewatched it countless times while getting into a Garnet-writing space (also, post-KIT hurt/comfort is an instant win if you want to pander to me, just fyi).
With the obvious big deal of fusion out of the way, we have the other big Garnet issue, which is her future vision. Rebecca Sugar gave a nice summary of it in this year’s Comic Con interview:
[Garnet’s] future vision is specifically their combined power. There’s a way I like to think about Garnet’s future vision: Sapphire can see the future if she is completely passive. When you see her in the past and she knows what’s going to happen, it’s what will happen if she doesn’t intervene with anything, she’s a completely passive character at that time. Ruby is extremely impulsive and was able to derail what she knew would happen by changing it. Garnet’s future vision is not Sapphire’s future vision, it’s a series of possibilities based on what would happen if she did do something. Sapphire on her own would never do something but they can track possible outcomes of their combined personalities. That’s why her power is not always flawless, but a lot more expansive.
We know from examples such as Pearl’s deception in Cry for Help that Garnet has to actively look into the future and seek out probabilities - in that instance, her attempts to find a specific future outcome with Peridot completely blinded her to the fact that Pearl was the one fixing the communication hub. From a ficcing perspective, it can be a real gift if used right, especially in more plot-heavy things. It also gets pretty heavy when you consider just how many highly realistic visions of things going wrong Garnet puts herself through on a regular basis. Kinda related, a nice thing to notice is Garnet usually fiddles with her shades when she’s actively using future vision.
More technical things, hm… don’t try to write her accent. Trying to render a dialect or accent leads to an unintelligible mess of weirdly placed apostrophes more often than not and can really take you out of a story (it’s frustrating to have to puzzle over what a character just said). Just write what she’s saying and get the speech patterns down as best as you can and have faith that your readers know what Garnet sounds like.
Garnet generally doesn’t talk a whole lot, but when she does she makes it count and it is usually in brief, straightforward statements. She’s hilarious (Master of Comedy™) but her jokes tend to be these deadpan things with killer delivery rather than, say, Amethyst and Steven’s ridiculous puns. She’s super Cool and quite a bit reserved, but in a very deliberate way, like she’s keeping up an image (which she is, because she is also a big dork - especially if we’re talking about love and fusion). She also isn’t very… hm, I’m not quite sure how to put this, but… she isn’t very dramatically physically demonstrative most of the time, or rather she has her own brand of it, she’s just kinda lowkey casually physically affectionate, accepting, and present? Like carrying Steven around (often on her head) or letting Pearl cling to her and hide behind her, stuff like that.
This is the usual, of course, which only serves to highlight occasions where it’s all flipped; where Garnet clings to Pearl and quietly screams over Smoky Quartz for an entire minute, for example, or breaks down when faced with the fusion experiments, or gathers up her entire family and hugs the hell out of them. Dunno, it’s just that like so many things about her, she really makes it count and it stands out to me. I like that we’ve had more and more of these instances - a big thing with Garnet now compared to Garnet in season one is how much more open and relaxed she is, and this progression is something I adore and hope to see more of (I also really really want to see more of her goofing off with Amethyst). You can also sort of keep track of this if you take note whenever she removes her shades (which has been happening more and more often, too!), usually in really touching, honest moments, taking great care to be approachable, and allowing herself to be vulnerable.
Notably, while Pearl is the show’s go-to Exposition Provider, it’s usually Garnet who sits or kneels down to Steven’s level and calmly explains something about his powers or Gem magic or Rose to him. She has this whole… special gentle tone of voice when she does it, I love it, it’s the best. In Log Date she does this for Peridot, too. Another one of my favourite things was brought up during last year’s Comic Con and it’s the fact that Garnet never asks questions - that’s an actual official guideline for SU writers:
Q: When it comes to tie-ins like the comics, for example, what kind of input do you have?
REBECCA SUGAR: I’m very much in the show all the time, and everything that gets made somewhere else is like a little harder to collaborate on because the show takes up so much of my time, so we talk broad things about the characters. For example, Garnet never asks questions. Ever. She’s sure of everything she says, so if you’re putting this in, she’ll never ask a question.
IAN JONES-QUARTEY: If you see Garnet ask a question in something, it’s not canon.
It’s neat that this is a thing in-universe, too. Notably it was recently amusingly lampshaded in Know Your Fusion, when she wanted to ask Steven and Amethyst what they were planning together and ended up getting Pearl to ask them for her. Even her backstory episode is called The Answer - and it features what is perhaps the root of this, a great scene of confused newbie fusion Garnet being told by Rose Quartz:
No more questions. Don’t ever question this. You already are the answer.
She is often almost aggressively positive about herself - Garnet always wins, Garnet is awesome, all that (very true) stuff. It’s very much a part of her rebellion: we know now that she’s had (and has) to prove this (herself, her own right to even exist) over and over - hell, in her very first seconds of existence she was called “disgusting”. From another recent interview, a note related to that:
Garnet’s confidence is so much of her character, because it’s something she earned, and this was the first time we’d get to show her original state, a being that exploded out of an outrageously romantic gesture.
The above interview also mentions the team dynamic often being split in a Garnet + Pearl/Amethyst + Steven sense, and this is something I find very interesting. Garnet and Pearl are the ones who’ve been through the war, who’ve been with Rose the longest, who pal around and reminisce with Bismuth, and who for better or worse know Homeworld best (the reveal in The Answer that Garnet herself was never actually on Homeworld puts an interesting spin on things, making her “experiences” exclusively filtered through Ruby’s and Sapphire’s own).
Going from there, contrasting Garnet with Pearl is interesting because Garnet, to me, besides her efforts to be the dependable stoic leader of the Crystal Gems, has this whole “lover not a fighter” air about her. She fights when and because it’s necessary, because otherwise she quite literally wouldn’t get to exist - it’s not something she sees or paints as great and glorious and that she derives personal satisfaction or pride from, like Pearl often does. Rose’s Scabbard with their contrasting descriptions of the strawberry battlefield is a good in-show example of this, I think.
If you’re up for more Garnet meta, there’s some good stuff here, in particular a bit I really like featuring a nifty summary of her unique connections with each of the other CGs:
Garnet is willful. Garnet is protective. Garnet is loving. She is an Earthling like Amethyst; a fusion of love like Steven; a leader like Rose; a fighter like Pearl. Garnet is also an embodiment of balance: Ruby is fire, Sapphire is ice.
Finally, since this was supposed to be about writing, let me just grab my Garnet fics from my masterpost and put them here.
Amethyst tends to comfort simply by existing. Pearl is fussy and overprotective. Garnet appreciates them both. Keeping It Together episode tag. Mild Polygems. | AO3
Protection, comfort, and safety, or the Terrifying Renegade and the Fusion through the years, and a small tribute to those “five times plus one” fic formats of old. Pearl/Garnet. | AO3
The beginning of the rebellion. Pretty much everything is new to Garnet, but some things are new to Rose and Pearl, too. Or: Eloping to Earth is a grand idea. Garnet, Pearl/Rose, and a guest star, The Answer episode tag. | AO3
It may not be a role she ever wanted to play, but she likes to think she isn’t doing too shabby. Garnet and her team. Or: well, Gems talking, mostly. Garnet POV snippets from what we’ve so far seen of the Barn Arc, and a sort of intro to The Answer and the Steven Bomb. Gamethyst if you squint. | AO3
There’s also a couple in which Garnet isn’t the focus, but plays an important role:
On the nature of human affection-related rituals, their application in several established Gem relationships, and fusion. But mostly kissing. Pearl/Rose, Garnet/Rainbow Quartz. | AO3
Wallowing in guilt and drowning in apologies, or: Pearl POV snippets
from the Week of Sardonyx and its aftermath. Pearl/Garnet, Steven. | AO3