Give your character serious problems that he or she cant resolve in one book or even ten

Spenser deals with the mob and crime in Boston. Neither the mob nor Boston criminals are going anywhere anytime soon. Spenser could live forever and still not run out of enemies to fight. Matt Scudder is dealing with New York's criminals. same story.

In a fantasy series, you'll have the rival wizards' college, or the nightmare creatures that live just over the border, or the poisoned magic that pours down from the North Pole every winter. In a western series, you'll have the Civil War or the marauding Indians or the encroaching Whites or the ever-present bandits (depending on how historically accurate or politically correct you want to be). In a mainstream series set against the backdrop of World War I, you have World War I.

In each instance, you have built into your universe a problem that is bigger than your hero - bigger than any hundred heroes that you could throw against it, or any thousand.

Racial or territorial rivalries make good base problems, as do religious differences, long-running wars, areas of great poverty butted up against areas of great wealth, class struggles, historical enmity (a la the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet,) and so on. Make sure your series character has one of these base problems to supply him with a long series of struggles, and you with a long series of books.

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