Years ago my cousin, Cindy, sent me a cake recipe. It's a simple cake, a combination of cake mix and instant pudding mix baked in a Bundt pan. Her recipe calls for a double shot of chocolate. Now I like chocolate, but not that much, so I started to experiment with different flavors of cake mixes and pudding. The varieties are endless.
Here's a few I've tried with success (success is when they actually eat the cake and don't complain). Cherry cake mix and chocolate pudding tastes like a chocolate covered cherry. A yellow cake mix with butterscotch pudding, chocolate mix with cheesecake pudding, sometimes with a ribbon of actual cheesecake in the center, and yesterday I tried a marble cake mix with pistachio pudding, using the chocolate mix to make a ribbon of chocolate through the center. Of course, the glaze I choose top the cake with can enhance the flavor. A fudge glaze on the butterscotch, a white glaze on the chocolate, and yesterday's cake was topped with an almond flavored glaze.
So why am I talking recipes on a short story blog? Because all stories and genres have a basic recipe, it's what the writer adds to the mix that takes a story beyond the basics and into something special. True, sticking to that basic formula will, if you're a decent writer, get you published. But if you want to step beyond that safe, plain vanilla story, add a little spice or kick in a new flavor to enhance the story, don't be afraid to experiment. You never know what you can create if you don't at least try.