Web Writing That Works!

           A Project of
           The Communication Circle

Guidelines Rants Patterns Poems Services Classes Press Blog Resources About Us Site Map

HomeRants > Writing with a genre. > A genre demands that you take on a conventional persona.



 

 

A genre demands that you take on a conventional persona.

Each genre comes with a few standard personas, a cast list of potential roles for you to play.

Example: If you're writing a procedure, you can give friendly explanations, or you can act as an arrogant geek; you can be expansive or tight-lipped, generous or nasty.

Often, your organization, and its relationship with your audience, dictate which of the cast of characters you are to play, because a persona implies a certain kind of relationship with your audience.

You may slip into the role without much effort, or you may find it ill-fitting, out of character, hard to assume.

Your personal struggle with the persona will probably show up in your prose style.

  • If you are under immense pressure to act as if the product really works well, when it's a stinker, your prose may become a little defensive, or deliberately ambiguous.
  • Your mask may slip off occasionally, as you try to write around those embarrassing flaws in the product, covering up the lousy parts of the interface, overlooking the messy inconsistencies, pretending that the product works just fine.

The more intensely you feel that the persona you have to adopt is fake, the less certain your prose will be. In that situation, redefine your relationship with your audience.

Start writing like a human being talking to a real individual.

Of course, you may get fired for your effort, but you'll leave behind some decent prose. And, generally, you'll succeed in reaching your audience.

Remember: there are several personas available within any genre, and if you don't like the persona that your organization has settled on, consider a change of costume.

 

The brain is the neurological repository of the human past, and personae are the hidden masks of our ancestors and heirs.
-Camille Paglia, Sex, Art, and American Culture




"The writer" is a role, a subject position, constituted by community constraints.
-James Porter, Audience and Rhetoric
 

What genre does your audience want from you?

 

Home | Guidelines | Rants | Patterns | Poems | Services | Classes | Press | Blog |
Resources | About Us | Site Map

Web Writing that Works!
http://www.WebWritingThatWorks.com
  2002, 2004 Jonathan and Lisa Price
The Communication Circle
Discuss at HotText@yahoogroups.com
Email us directly at ThePrices@ThePrices.com
Order Hot Text (the book) from Amazon