We had apple pie for dessert tonight. My husband and co-author is the household’s designated piemaker, and he does a mean apple pie. One of his secrets: using two or more different types of apple. Tonight’s pie featured a couple of Granny Smiths, a Macintosh, and two large Rome apples. Why more than one type of apple? Because it give a depth and complexity of flavor that you just don’t get in pies made with a single variety of apple.
And this is related to writing, how?
Just as a pie is better when it’s made with more than one variety of apple, a novel is better when it doesn’t just have a single mood or tone. Horror is made more frightening by being lightened from time to time with humor; adventure and mystery can often benefit from a dollop of romance. The contrast works to add depth, and the relief of tension lures readers into a momentary security. And it’s the momentary security that makes them jump even higher when the surprise twist comes around.