Years back before I seriously started writing I had talked with an author who just sold his first novel, a thriller as I recall. He commented that with his first book out, the rest would be easier. When asked if he meant establishing himself as an author meant easier sales, he said, "No. The next books I write will follow the formula."
I didn't give it much thought back then, but recently it hit me that I have a formula. My middle grade mysteries follow it, and I've refined it for my later mysteries, including Claws of the Griffin, from Cool Well Press, and my current work in progress. I will share some of the formula here.
The main POV of the hero is done in first person.(This came after the Penelope Mystery series.) I add a third person POV for another character who has the next strongest plot line. Then I add in a few minor third person POVs to round out story. What I like about this approach is the reader gets the intamancy of reading a first person account, and the broader perspective of multiple third persons. Be warned it can be tricky.
Beside the hero and villain, I have a "bad ass" character, who's goal is to give the hero a rough time and side track her. To balance things out, the hero has a counselor, someone who keeps her on track with advice and small helps. Since I write mysteries, the hero, aka detective, has sidekicks. The rest of a mix is diverse characters.
Toss in strong "red herring". Sadly the art of deceiving the reader with false clues seems to have died. Even when the reader knows its a red herring, it helps to muddy the waters. Just play fair.
Those are some elements of my recipe for writing a story.
So, what's your writing formula?