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Every time you write, you assume a Persona (pronounced per – some – a). Like an actor, you create a role and you play it for your readers. You can take the role of the passionate advocate of some cause, an informed authority on some topic, a compassionate observer of social injustice – many roles are possible. Think about the personas that radio and TV personalities project – Jay Leno as satiric observer, Dr.Laura as scolding parent, Jim Lehrer as experienced and wise reporter. As a writer, you also leave an impression.

Here are some of the elements that affect it.

Your Language Choice :

When you choose everyday, familiar language, address your readers as You. Use constructions frequently or use the first personal I, you’re creating a friendly, easygoing persona who feels relaxed with readers and close to them. Such a persona would suit you when you were composing a newsletter or creating personal web site. You wouldn’t choose it when you were submitting a research project to a professor. Then, you’d want to present the image of serious – minded, careful and respectful student and you would avoid slang or language that’s too causal. Probably you wouldn’t address your professor as You.

Your choice of vocabulary also affects your persona. If you use a technical vocabulary for physics project you’re presenting online – and use it correctly – you assume the role of an authority on you topic If. You use the latest slang terms and the first names of current pop stars in a concert review; you take on the persona of someone who’s tuned in to the contemporary music sense. And if you use terms like abs, quads, and glutes when you’re describing an athlete whose physique you admire. You come across as someone knowledgeable about exercise and fitness.

Tone :

Tone, the feeling or attitude that you project in a piece of writing, also plays a crucial part in the persona that comes through in your writing. We often characterize tone in terms used to describe attitude. This list suggests just some of the possibilities;


For instance, a movie critic lambasting a heavy action film may sound mocking and superior; articles on the web site often sounds flippant and sarcastic, a letter of advice from an older sister may seem patronizing. Readers react strongly to the tone in your wiring. If it offends them, they’re likely to discount what you’re saying or perhaps stop reading altogether. So when you are reading a draft of your work, ask yourself, “What attitude am I projecting here? Is this the tone I want?” If it’s not, consider how you can improve it.

Authenticity :

A third important element of an effective persona is the authenticity and good character of the writer. Readers react positively to writers who give an impression of competence, integrity, and authority, writers like the columnists William Raspberry or Ellen Goodman who write about serious issues in s straightforward and authoritative way. Such writers have earned their reputations and the trust of their readers over a period of year, but beginning writers can create their own authentic character in a number of ways.

Here are some strategies you might adopt.

• When appropriate, research, and document your findings.
• Quote authoritative sources to support your assertions.
• Respect your readers.
• Acknowledge other points of view
• Avoid extreme claims.
• Sound confident.

Questions about Persona :

• What kind of persona do you want you language choices to reflect?

• What one do you want to project?

• How can you communicate your authenticity?

Writing out answers to these questions not only can help you decide what you want to accomplish with you writing.

Here’s how an analysis of the writer’s persona for the project on the Artist Artemisia Gentileschi might look:

Persona Analysis :

What kind of persona do you want your language choices to reflect? : I want to give the impression of a serious writer who wants to inform her readers about a talented woman from an earlier century.

What one do you want to project? : I want to come across as enthusiastic and admiring, impressed by Artist Artemisia Gentileschi's accomplishments and the fore of her character.

How can you communicate your authenticity? : I’ll make reasonable, not extravagant claims about Gentility’s work and use supporting evidence to show I’ve done my research and am well informed about my topic.

Other Pages in This Section:

Who is your audience?

What is your purpose?

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