I first read about the concept of an ‘ideal reader’ in Stephen King’s memoir On Writing. He was referring to his wife, Tabitha King, the person he speaks directly to when he writes, the person who relates best to his work. The ideal reader is more than a genre classification such as young adult or an audience demographic such as women 21 – 45 years. It’s a valuable writing tool that writers use to shape the tone of the narrator’s voice and help the flow of their writing.
Which raises the question; when it comes to digital writing – is there an ideal digital reader? I’m not talking about whether you prefer a physical book to an ebook. I’m talking about digital writing works that exploit affordances of technology other than just distribution. Last year, the Guardian published an article on Random House’ s interactive fiction Black Crown. Random House claimed to have three audience types in mind – indie gamers, readers of speculative fiction (sci fi, fantasy and horrow) and progressive readers – readers opened to new types of experience.
You can read the full article here:
Does the ideal digital reader need to be transliterate? Do they need to have three monitors for their computer set up – one to play games, one to update all their social media and the third to do actual work? Do they need to be able to follow simple directions to update their software without installing a myriad of random add-ons (starting perhaps with their anti-virus)? Does the reader need to reach a comfort level with technology before they engage with digital writing?
I recently attended Story Plus Conference as part of the Brisbane Writers Festival. At this conference, transmedia producer Mike Jones said that no matter how difficult the media may be to navigate, the audience will engage with it if they are hooked on the story.
For more on Story Plus Conference, you can read here:
In developing the Limerence project, I’ve been thinking a lot about readerly interactions and creating a digital story that does not require readers to be technologically savvy, but uses interactions that are natural extensions of the reading experience. Whether or not it has worked – we’ll see. Beta testing begins either Friday the 5th (Yikes! That’s tomorrow) or Saturday the 6th Dec.