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Sandhurst

Symposium 4

Great Power Competition and the Return of Inter-State Conflict?

Wednesday 4 March

2020

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Creating your own reader avatar

What on earth is an avatar?

 

You’ve no doubt seen the film: an avatar is an icon or figure representing a particular person.  In the film it’s a hybrid human-alien created to facilitate communication with the indigenous Na’vis from the plant Pandora.

 

So what’s that got to do with writing?  Actually, quite a lot.

 

So far, avatars have mainly been used mainly in computing as a graphical representation of the user or the user’s alter ego.  Just think back to when we all created our Wii characters, which we called a Mii.  It’s the same thing here, just a different name.

 

As we already know, visualising your audience is really important when writing. Otherwise you risk being generic and ineffective. If you can visualise your audience as one person, you can write directly and, as we’ve noted previously, that means you have a targeted, known audience.

 

Rather than using the Avatar to represent yourself visually, why not use this principle to create a visual representation of your reader?

 

Your reader avatar (readatar!) will be a composite of the characteristics of many people and should be specific and focused.  A common mistake is creating a readatar that is too broad and general.  When your work is being read, it should almost be like you’ve read your reader’s mind.

 

If right now you are thinking ‘but I don’t need a readatar because my writing will appeal to everyone’ ...

 

... wrong!

 

Whilst your work could theoretically be read by anyone, you already know that there is a specific group to which your work will appeal the most.  This is your focus!

 

How to create a readatar:

 

  1. What is the predominate gender of your audience?

  2. How old are these people?

  3. What are their likes?

  4. What are their hobbies?

  5. Do they have any fears, frustrations and/or challenges?

  6. What are their dreams?

 

Give your readatar a name!

 

What to do next….

 

Try creating your own readatar.

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