Ask not for whom the writer writes
It’s in all the books; you hear it at clinics and in class: Who are you writing for? I usually fall back on claiming that I write for myself, sales be damned! However, a funny thing happened on the way back from Atlanta. I was listening to a lecture on Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, as one does on such expeditions, when Professor Greenberg noted that the trumpet part was written with a single performer in mind, a virtuoso player by the name of Johann Ludwig Schreiber. The trumpet part is still considered one of the most difficult in the entire repertoire even with the change from valveless to valved instruments.
This gave rise to a question: What would a story or book look like if it was written for a virtuoso reader? Poetry might be one answer, a story that makes you think about the texture and construction of the language might be another. No matter. This was the genesis for my new answer to that ever recurring question I started with.
My writing is scored for the Virtuoso reader. I refuse to dumb-down my prose to make it accessible to the average reader. This isn’t snobbery; it’s that I like the baroque complexity and structure that I produce. Thus my excuse takes me back to the answer I have previously given–I write for myself. If a publisher pushes me to define my target audience, I now have a term I can give them: the virtuoso reader.