Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

My Ideal Reader

One of our VCFA teachers has her students write an essay about who their ideal reader is. She isn’t my teacher (I swear I wish I could have them all!), but I want to do this little exercise anyway. Just for fun.

My ideal reader is 15 years old. Medium build, girl readingmedium height, and she gets average grades at school, but please don’t think there is anything average about her, inside or out. Her ears are shaped a little unusually. They are a bit elongated, like an elf’s. She is beautiful, and she is trying to believe it. She is brilliant, and she has no clue. She loves her baby sister fiercely. As for her parents? They mean well. She wouldn’t mind changing the world, if only she knew how.  She is a secret modern art museum goer, though she hasn’t gone in a while. She wonders if her friends really know her: she wonders if anyone ever really knows anybody. She wonders a lot.

She’s a music junkie: anything from metal to pop  and beyond; jazz and classical too, you know. She spends most of her days on the floor of her room, which is littered with books — lots of school drama and girl drama books, love stories, sci fi, fantasy, you name it, new stuff, and stuff that is old-to-the-point-of-embarrassing. There are also textbooks and tights, a long skirt, a guitar, a laptop, an old silver horseshoe souvenir from grandma, a horrendously bright temple T-shirt. Sometimes, on stressful days, or lonely ones, she smuggles ice cream and other snacks in here, so yeah, there’s also a stray wrapper or two.

This floor is where she lives: reading, playing, thinking, doing homework, listening to music, texting, talking on her phone. This floor is where once upon a time she giggled with friends at sleepovers, then, later, much later, tried a cigarette, shared a first kiss. This floor is where she will read my book, lose herself yet again, in a new way, leaving behind the sound of the train passing outside her window and that bio test next week, and the text from her swimming practice teammate. Her earphones are in her ears, as always, but she doesn’t hear the music as she reads. She is falling in love. She’s putting together the puzzle pieces. She’s on the hunt for connections. She’s trying to figure out where the fantasy starts and the reality fades. She is finding her way in another world; she’s a world traveler.  She is exploring what it means to be human right along with me.

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September 3, 2013 - Posted by | Personal Mirror, VCFA Adventures, Writing Mirror

10 Comments »

  1. Oh, my! I have never done this exercise. I need to.

    And I really hope your ideal reader gets her hands on my books. I loved meeting her, Katia!

    Comment by joycemoyerhostetter | September 3, 2013 | Reply

  2. Thanks, Joyce. 🙂 If you ever do, please do share what you come up with!

    Comment by Katia Raina | September 3, 2013 | Reply

    • Yes, will definitely share – if I ever do it. Sounds like a really fun exercise.

      Comment by joycemoyerhostetter | September 4, 2013 | Reply

  3. I can picture her in my head. This is fantastic. I’m now going to think about my ideal reader.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | September 3, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks, Medeia! It’s a lot of fun — give it a try.

      Comment by Katia Raina | September 4, 2013 | Reply

  4. That’s a pretty in-depth description! I felt more like I was reading a character profile 😀 I know Stephen King says he writes with one reader in mind–to satisfy that one person: his wife 🙂 For me, I’ve never wanted to picture an ideal reader, I suppose because I’m hoping what I write will have a wide appeal 🙂 We’ll see!

    Great “character,” Katia!

    Comment by writersideup | September 4, 2013 | Reply

    • And in another famous example, Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With The Wind to entertain herself, which in truth might be closer to how I work. You have your own way, I am sure. But I’d caution you against working with “the masses” in mind.

      Comment by Katia Raina | September 4, 2013 | Reply

      • Thanks, Katia 🙂 Actually, the only thing I’m truly considering is age-appropriate content and that I don’t want to be gender-specific as far as appeal. I’m not going to write something a young reader can’t read, should they choose to, but the themes are more Upper MG/YA. I’ll be writing what I think is good writing. The ideal reader? Honestly, I don’t have one! 🙂

        Comment by writersideup | September 4, 2013

  5. Hmmmmm. Someone who would buy multiple copies of my books to read and give to friends and relatives… Really, this is a fun exercise, and probably pretty valuable. Thanks for posting this.

    Comment by Rosi | September 4, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks, Rosi! Just having fun — and sharing with my fellow writers. No specific “educational” purpose behind this, necessarily. (Though now that I’ve done this, I find myself getting oddly attached to her!)

      Comment by Katia Raina | September 4, 2013 | Reply


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