Oh, time for another analogy!
We all have our recipes when we write.
The larger quantities:
1 C Love, (can most often substitute Lust)
1 C Drama, Mystery, Adventure, etc. depending on taste
A handful of psychologically pulverized characters
1 T Humor
1/2 T Snark
We often have to learn about our recipes as we go. And I’m beginning to learn about mine. I’m learning that my recipe, unlike my actual taste, does not favor the sweet.
When I find my story getting too cute, or nice, I immediately think, how can I add a dash of dark? I can "taste" it, the way a chef tastes a soup or sauce and knows its missing something.
I tend to have at least
1 C Magic/Supernatural
1/2 C Darkness
1/4 C Romance (not generic)
3/4 of 1 Hero/Heroine (always remove 1/4 for anticipated growth)
1-2 Friends, pre-mixed with a dash of Humor and just a pinch of sweet
1 T Nature
1/2 t Sweet (and that’s a generous portion, any more and I start to wonder who should lose a life or a limb or a loved one)
What’s your recipe?