A concrete example of this would be the way I structure my chapters. I try to start with a scene so that the reader is grounded in place and time. Then I usually lapse into a flashback, which might be a few paragraphs or a few pages long, in order to give the reader a better sense of context of what's going on in the present time. I'm working hard to cut down on chunks of exposition (my #1 weakness) by replacing them with scene (even in flashbacks).
I guess the reason I feel that my writing is becoming predictable and formulaic is because I have analyzed it to death in order to continually improve. I'm just hoping the unsuspecting reader will be too entrenched in the narrative to be as aware as I am of all the thought I put into structure. I suppose that's every writer's goal - to make their labor-intensive work look effortless!
FIGURING IT OUT AS I GO: Before I started seriously writing, I never really took the time to think about how much intense planning and scrutiny go into producing a half-decent piece of fiction. It really is a fine art. I suppose we writers just have to remember that non-writers reading our manuscripts/books simply want to be engrossed and entertained. They probably won't care whether this is accomplished through flashback, (well-written) exposition, or whatever other "crutch" we tend to employ.