Monday, October 22, 2012

Browner Pastures

By Reece Hirsch

You know it may be time to retire your series character when:

  • More than one of your protagonist’s love interests has met a violent end.  You’re starting to feel like the mother of an unmarried thirty-five-year-old.  (“Oh, I really liked that one that you were seeing a few years back -- until she was gunned down by that psychopath.”)
  • Series fans are starting to enjoy the books that feature the sidekick a little bit too much.
  • More than one book has centered around placing the character’s love interest in jeopardy.
  • On some level, you wish the villain would stop all the gratuitous monologuing and just put a bullet in the protagonist.
  • Hollywood has made a movie featuring the character and has botched it badly.  (If the film starred Katherine Heigl, that doesn’t help matters.)
  • More recent entries in the series feature a co-author.
  • Your character’s wisecracks are starting to sound like open mic night at the Laugh Factory.
  • Series fans seem to take more interest in unearthing new facets of the character’s backstory than they do in the actual plot of the book.
  • The character has a dog that has now lived more than 150 dog years.
  • Your character has taken so many beatings from bad guys that you feel the need to address the adequacy of his or her health insurance coverage.  (This is particularly a problem for PI characters.)


Meredith Cole said...

Very funny, Reece! I think I, uh, recognize a few of the series you're talking about... I was going to say you know it's time to retire your series when fans stop reading--but clearly some fans can't let go either!

Catriona McPherson said...

Feeling you about that dog thing, Reece!

Reece said...

Thanks, Meredith. And I leave you to your own conclusions as to which series characters I was thinking of ....

Reece said...

Hey Catriona -- Let it be known that I am a dog lover and no harm to fictional canines is intended by this week's post.

Thomas Pluck said...

Very funny! Though I'm glad Lawrence Block didn't stop writing Scudder when Hollywood botched 8 Million Ways to Die.
That one's suspect, the movies don't affect the books. Maybe when you change your character to be like the one in the movie because it was popular, then it's time...?

Reece said...

Fair enough, Thomaas -- a bad movie should have no influence over how we read the books. And, I hate to admit it, but I didn't think 8 Million Ways to Die was all that bad.

Daisy Bateman said...

How about if you bring a character back to life who was very definitively dead in the book, because he survived in the movie and there's a chance of getting the same actor for the sequel?