All you need is a pinch.
I heard that often as I was learning how to cook, both from my mother and my grandmother. But what is a pinch? To each person it can be a different measurement. Yet, this measurement can make the world of difference in the outcome of your recipe. Going to flat to robust in flavor, a pinch can make or break your meal.
Writing can be like following a good recipe. You have your main components; your beginning, your middle, your climax and finally your ending. But in between those four elements, you have pinches of other things.Other ingredients are working to make your story a success.
Your character grows throughout the story giving the reader a totally different character at the end. You throw in red herrings and false trails, a story arc or two, and new characters. There might be a bit of romance, or maybe a bit of humor. These are the pinches that take your story from being flat to fabulous. These are the pinches that take your story in your own personal direction, the pinches that make your story yours.
Let’s be honest, there are only so many story-lines. It’s what you do with them, the twists and complications you add, which make it a story uniquely your own. As you grow as a writer, you develop your own style, using your pinches, creating the interest to keep the reader reading. From the next line, to the next chapter, to the next book- your pinches keep them reading.
But remember the lesson taught as you were learning to cook: just a pinch. Don’t overdo it and do not go to extremes. Or you could end up going from sweet to sour.