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.)