I've had three early readers for my mystery novel. My two friends loved it and had only minor comments. My sister, on the other hand, really liked it but she had some things to say that I've been pondering today. For a whodunit, she said, it's great. "In fact, I'd skip some of the characterization for a whodunit. But, it has the potential for a great piece of literary fiction. Can you take it deeper? Can you develop your own literary voice here?"
Her words have many implications for me. Is it too good for a whodunit and not good enough yet for literary fiction? Do I shop it now and if it doesn't sell, do I rewrite it? But it's a great story and it could be something more. Do I have the writing chops yet to make it more or am I still learning? Do I need more practice novels as I develop my own voice? I think I have a good style but maybe I don't have a solid voice yet.
I'd geared myself up to let go of Ellie and Al and Hansen and move on to the next novel. I've been writing some great story starts from prompts and some intriguing characters and situations have shown up. But maybe Ellie and Al and Hansen aren't done with me yet.
I'm not discouraged by her comments. I find them very intriguing and a good challenge. I want to be a great writer and I want to write literary fiction. Is it time now to step into that?