Game of Blogs was an initiative undertaken by Blogadda , wherein teams of bloggers were created, and tasked with crafting a story around a set of predefined characters. Each member had to write perforce, and the basics of each character were also laid out. It was an interesting exercise, challenging and productive, while being educative in writing fiction, team building in distributed teams and coordination. I was part of Team Supernova, who made the cut but not the prize…
THE CHARACTERS :
Shekhar Dutta – Stay home Dad, freelance writer, Hindu, Stays in Mumbai
French beard, bald, average height, fair, thin specs, lean, wears t-shirt & track pants generally, ever smiling.
Tara Dutta – Shekhar’s wife, Media professional , career oriented woman.
Fair, short hair, tall, prim & proper dressed, wear formals & high heels.
Roohi Dutta – 9 years girl, Shekhar and Tara’s daughter.
Fair, healthy, notorious, 2 ponytail, wear frill frocks.
Jennifer Joseph – Photographer, Christian, Stays in Kochi (Kerala)
Dusky, average height, tattoo on right hand, wears casual shorts and tees, lots of accessories, always carries a camera.
Cyrus Daruwala – A law student, Stays in Delhi
Tall, extremely fair, big specs, curly hair, stern face, beard on the chin.
THE BOOK, AND WHY TO READ OR NOT TO READ
The book “6 Degrees” is a collection of the top 3 winning stories from competition. If you are looking for books from known names, avoid this; but if you are looking for excellent writing and engaging concepts, this is for you. The 3 stories are well crafted, and worth a read; despite my individual opinion penned below. Only caveat is the cover price : at Rs. 349/- it is tad overpriced for new writers; but you can go for it nonetheless…
The back cover spells out the most engaging aspect : “The 3 stories in this book are a fascinating example of how one set of characters can have interesting lives with completely different dimensions”. I couldn’t put it any better than that myself. Bookaholics can read this just to see the wonder, depth and scope of human imagination, and the range the of possibilities that can be opened up with just the bare basics given above…
That apart, when you look at the fact that each story is a compilation of several authors working in tandem, one has to admire the teamwork, editing, continuity achieved, leaving no obvious gaps in the process; having been through it myself, I know it wasn’t easy getting the coordination right. This is the second major plus point of the book as I see it.
Of the 3 stories, the second – Entangled Lives – is by far and away, the best of the lot; it is a line of thought that could be developed into a book of its own. It is a rapid paced, well set-up and completely believable thriller, a page turner that will keep you glued to the pages, quite literally unputdownable. This was the only story I read in one go, such was its pull and authenticity. A chilling story and sensitive handling of the characters with a fast paced plot ensure reader interest.
I was disappointed with some aspects of this story, until I realised the constraints the teams operated under. These were distributed teams, with no guarantee that each member was equally committed; there wasn’t enough time, as well as other limitations, which meant proper fleshing out of the story, filling in plot background details, twists and turns was hard if not impossible. “Entangled Lives” scores on these as well, in addition to the para above. I will not spoil your fun – read it yourself to find out more about it!
Frankly, the other two stories pale in comparison – which does not mean that they did not deserve to win; just they weren’t as good, that is all.
The story I rate 2nd is “Missing – A Journey Within”. An excellent, nicely paced, and engaging story based on a missing girl – and the hunt for her, with a small twist thrown in; this a very very different story, almost unique; full marks to the team of authors for imagination and out of the box thinking! It a fast and light read, and has clear potential as the seed of an interesting novel. Again, so different is the concept, that saying anything else would spoil your fun. Enjoy this very novel concept, with a clear message as well as an interesting twist. In fact, in some ways, this rivals the one above for its freshness and its light touch.
The last story, appearing first in the book, is “The Awakening”. To be completely honest, an outlandish concept, but one very much in vogue – an eclectic mix of Aliens plus Ancient secrets. These are both very much trending topics nowadays in the realm of fiction, so no surprise that this story got chosen, given that it has also been well crafted. My personal opinion notwithstanding, it is a good story, well paced and presented. The problem for me remains the overall concept, which to me is beyond my comprehension, in addition to lacking newness and freshness! That said, it is a good story – of that there is no doubt…