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Monday, November 10, 2014

Guest Blog and Giveaway: Sceadu by Prashant Pinge



The memorable character

The annals of literary history are sprinkled with miles of great fiction. But if I were to pick a specific genre, say crime fiction, then more often than not, it is a Hercule Poirot or a Sherlock Holmes that instantly leaps to the mind. The plot is undoubtedly the cornerstone of any good story without exception, but what lends an added dimension to the entire reader experience is the insertion of one or more memorable characters. While everybody loves a mesmerizing plot, it is the characters that serve as surrogates for readers to actually experience the events. It is imperative then that readers not only come to like or care for the characters but to live through them, vicariously as it may be.

The reality that is imposed upon the average reader is usually an ordinary one. Fiction allows them to shed their mundane existence and immerse their dormant adventurous side into a romanticized paradigm, replete with all the elements that are missing from their lives. And most importantly, to be in the shoes of the characters. The emotions associated with experiencing a story as a character are far more powerful than simply going through the ritual of turning pages. But then, how does one craft a character that grabs the mindshare in a decidedly crowded literary landscape? While there are plenty of formulaic approaches to developing characters, I prefer to adopt a more organic one to start with.

In my opinion, it is paramount that characters speak to the reader (and the author). For instance, I recall a Hercule Poirot only because I am a fan of the genre. Ask me about romance, and I will draw a large blank. So it only makes sense that a character, in general, will primarily appeal to those who enjoy that particular genre. It therefore behooves the author to understand the target audience (and themselves) in as much detail as possible. This knowledge should not only be limited to the ‘what is’ but to the ‘what if’, to their aspirations, to their fantasies, and to all they feel is missing in their lives. This information can then be molded, tweaked, extrapolated, and exaggerated to create interesting characters.


Once the basic character takes shape, it then makes sense to launch into the formulaic approach to fine tune the details, which among other things involves christening the character, creating a physical description, writing a detailed biography, giving the character a unique voice, and immersing the character in complex situations. The author, however, must treat this process as a blend of art and science, taking care that the characters neither become clich├ęd nor caricaturized into oblivion. An unforgettable character, then, does not only play an important role in elevating the plot but takes the reader through a memorable journey, remaining etched in the literary psyche for years to come.

Sceadu
Prashant Pinge

Genre: YA fantasy fiction

Date of Publication: Nov 10, 2014

ASIN: B00NVCV0I0

Number of pages: 246
Word Count: About 70,000

Cover Artist: Reptile FX

Book Description:

All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.

Nine year old Matilda ends up with a century old book through a series of strange coincidences. And disappears. Her brother and cousins are forced to suspend their hostilities and pursue her to Sceadu, a land inside the human shadow. Once there, the reluctant visitors find themselves chased by the vicious Hefigans, creatures of Sceadu. However, everything changes with the revelation of an ancient prophecy that foretells the doom of the world they left behind.

With the stakes suddenly raised, the children must now navigate the dangerous terrain, overcome grave challenges, and unlock the secrets of the shadow. But can they do it in time to thwart the plans of the treacherous Hefigans? Or will they succumb to the guile of a ruthless enemy who is equally determined to destroy mankind?

Sceadu is a fast-paced adventure which blurs the boundary between the physical and the psychological, the real and the mythical.

Available at Amazon





Excerpt:

Matilda sat at her old wooden desk, staring into the thick yellowed pages of a book under a dull moth ridden beam cast by the night lamp. But every time she blinked, it seemed as if the words had played a round of musical chairs. And the moths, fluttering through the words at times and hovering over them at others, did not make things any easier.

Matilda was about to turn the page when there was a tug at her feet. It was a very gentle one, almost imperceptible. Surprised, she glanced down, but there was nothing. Perhaps it’s just my imagination, she thought. She was about to shake her thick dark brown curls out of her face when she felt it again.

Matilda pushed her head down and looked into the dark void with furrowed brow. Her skinny legs stared back. But before she could decide on whether she had actually felt anything, there was another tug, an unmistakable one this time. And another one. The truth suddenly dawned upon Matilda. It was her shadow, trying to drag her into itself.

Matilda jerked back the chair, kicking hard at her shadow. But it snapped back, pulling at her even more viciously. She stomped upon it repeatedly. But the dark grey shape began jabbing at her feet and ankles. Matilda pushed herself up and made a frantic attempt to run. But her legs refused to move, and she almost toppled forward.

All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.



About the Author:

Prashant Pinge was born and brought up in the picturesque neighbourhood of Shivaji Park in the bustling city of Mumbai in India.

A quiet and diligent student throughout his schooling and college years, Prashant proceeded to pursue electrical engineering at Purdue University in the United States. Over the next decade, he accumulated three more degrees, a master of science in management from Lancaster University, a post graduate program in management from Indian School of Business, and a post MBA master in international management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Apart from enjoying the company of books, Prashant had always had an imaginative bent of mind. But writing only happened in the fall of 2003, when a remarkably intriguing dream interrupted an uncharacteristically deep spell of slumber, compelling him to stagger to his desk and pen down the idea. That book is still a few years away from being written. Prashant, however, continues to work from his cauldron of creativity and churn out critically acclaimed works of fiction.

In addition to his literary pursuits, Prashant is Managing Partner in his marketing and branding firm, Media Panther. In his spare time, Prashant enjoys collecting old coins, reading fiction, travelling to exotic destinations, watching movies, and listening to music. He recently wrote and produced a short film titled Freedom of Expression. Prashant is also keenly interested in the subjects of psychology, mythology and ancient history.

Prashant lives with his wife and son in Mumbai.

Author website - http://prashantpinge.com



Sceadu Facebook page - http://facebook.com/SceaduTheBook






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1 comment:

Prashant Pinge said...

Thanks for the great post! I do hope your readers enjoy Sceadu!