Today I baked a batch of chocolate-chips/walnuts/raisins and anything else I had handy to toss into the cookie dough. One thing added that was different, was a Lindt dark chocolate bar infused with chili. Broken into tiny chunks, it gave the cookies a slight peppery taste; a twist of something unfamiliar, yet retaining that decadent, nutty flavour of dark chocolate with a bite.
Writing is similar. We can write about customary things everyone recognizes, but it's nice to shake things up by adding a bit of spice and making the "familiar" different.
In matters of tasty morsels for the tummy, subtle changes are the best. The key is to lightly add the spices, resulting in an exquisite flavour that intrigues.
In writing, the same key applies. Spice up the action or the vocabulary, but don't overdo it resulting in pages of excessive dialogue or boring narrative. Writers want the readers to be intrigued, not anaesthetized.
It's even more intriguing when a stodgy or staid character revolts and shows a totally different side of his/her public face. I adore reading books where nothing is what it seems but everything ties up nicely at the end. I like writers who know how to do great plot twists and have likeable, as well as dislikeable, characters. I enjoy writers who know how to kick up the action and deliver the final heart-stopping twist of a punchline at the end. And, I love writers who know how to leave their readers wanting more. That's the kind of writing I want to do.