I'm piggybacking on a comment by Daniel Hatadi in Sandra Ruttan's discussion about killing off series characters. Daniel said he favors the six-book series and (paraphrasing here) gets bored if a series goes on and on. I don't feel that way at all. I l prefer series to standalones as long as the characters continue to develop from book to book. As both reader and writer, I am fascinated by the process. (That's probably also why I'm a shrink.) I want to enter a protagonist's world and watch it accumulate richness and complexity over time, just like real life, but with fewer dull patches. ;) Authors whose series haven't tired me yet include Marcia Muller's, Dana Stabenow's, Laurie King's, Margaret Maron's, Reginald Hill's (though the last few books have been a little too clever for their own good), Laura LIppman's, and I could name others. So whaddya think? Which side are you on, and why? Liz

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I've read a few of the early ones, and I can see where you'd think that. Try MONEY, MONEY, MONEY or THE FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH. Those are my two favorites. Fo a little more humor than usual, FAT OLLIE'S BOOK is also good.

Send me a message when you're done with one, if you like. I'm curious to see if reading a more recent 87 novel changes your opinion.
Thanks, Dana.
I did try Fat Ollie's Book. It's still not for me.
I think he started writing in the late 50's/ early 60's and I vividly remember him wearing a hat in one of his early books. Something more recent may well have a more contemporary feel to it, although you might struggle with the lives of ongoing characters. I'd be intrerested in reading your thoughts if you read McBain again too.
Last year (I think) a book of Ed McBain short stories came out, Learning to Kill, and many are terrific. He also wrote a great introduction giving a lot of background on the stories and the world of short story writing at the time.

I think Dana's right, Ed McBain, for all his success is underrated. A lot of those short stories look a lot more deeply into the 'bad guys' than most crime fiction of the time did, and the idea of the loose series - major characters in one book being minor characters in others - seems ahead of its time as it's really taking off now.
I'm doing a series, and I don't know if should ever kill off the main character. As long as the stories stay interesting, fresh, and the character's development continues to grow, I don't have any reason to send him to an early grave. I'm also a avid reader. Lee Child and his Jack Reacher books are among my favorites in a series. I always feel like i'm reading him for the first time each time I pick up a Lee Child novel. I can always come up with new situations for my character Derrick Sweat to conquer. I'm not shink, but it's fun.
I'm not a writer, so I can only comment from a reader's perspective. If you think your character still has things to say and some evolving to do then why kill him off? It's writers whose characters stay the same from book to book where only the names really change in the plots who need to put their people six feet under.
When I like a series, it becomes an auto-buy for me, even if I'm not keeping up with the reading. All the books on my Christmas list this year were continuations of mystery series: I've got some tasty reading ahead. :-)

If I like an author enough, I'll buy anything else he or she writes: examples, Dana Stabenow's recent thriller, and her sci fi trilogy from years back. Marcia Muller's POINT DECEPTION and its sequel. Mainly, I'm a completist collector.

If I know that a writer is going to kill off his main character in a series that I like, I stop liking the series. I can't enjoy losing a character I care about.
Good God, I hope millions of readers believe they should go on and on. As a writer of a series featuring Mike Shepherd Chicago PI, I dearly wish readers are clamoring for number twenty-two when I get to number twenty-one. I have found many series tend to become stale before they disappear. Those already mentioned being exceptions. The main point, I think, for a series is that the characters evolve and change with the times.
I started my PI series with three books in mind as I figured it would take that many to get my alter ego out of my head. My first book is self-published and the process nearly destroyed my alter ego. Now that I'm well into the second, he's come alive again and I'm having a ball. Oh yeah, I will never self-publish again as the marketing work is too demanding.
Sorry yall. I love Cornwell and Evanovich ESPECIALLY because of the sameness from book to book. I know that the characters will be the same. It's like pulling on a comfy pair of jeans. I know that the place I will be led through the continuing series by these two authors is going to be different, but the similarities (places, people, situations)are still there, (the same jeans). That is what made me buy ALL their books.

I love series.
I have books by both authors and I have to say of the two, Janet Evanovich is my favorite. I thought I had started to see Stephanie Plum evolve. Maybe not.


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