Give your character a theme

Spenser is the slightly battered white knight, rescuing the helpless. Matt Scudder is the fierce and wounded avenger of the unjustly dead. Your character needs to have a reason for going on, a reason for doing what he or she does long after any normal person would throw up hands and say, "Enough, already. I'm getting a job at the Quickie Mart." This reason, this compelling urge forward in the face of insurmountable odds, is your character's theme . . . and may well be one of your own.

Ten keys. Ten ways of opening a door to more space in a series, more room to work and move around. Ten pointers toward longevity. Here's my key-ring. I hope I'll see you on the shelves. For a long, long time.

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