For me, Story is King, (I suppose I should say Queen), but you know what I mean. I love a good story. I want to be engaged by the characters, I want to care what will happen to them, I want to be up all night, reading the book because I can't bear to put it down. I want to forget that I'm reading an artificial construct, turn off my internal editor and be swept along for the ride.
After I finish reading the book, I want the characters and place to resonate with me so that I catch myself thinking about them as if they were friends. What would have happened if they'd done this instead of that? What are they doing now?
Am I weird? I don't think so. I'm guessing most readers want this level of immersion.
I don't want to be reading and to come across a sentence that is so self conscious I have to stop and read it twice, because it is the author saying, Wow, look at me. Aren't I clever? I want the author and the mechanics of their writing to be invisible.
And this is the way I want to write. For me, it is the Holy Grail of writing. I want to be a story teller. So that is what I'm aiming for with my latest book. It's with my ROR writing group now and I'll be hearing their reaction over this weekend. They don't pull punches. Maybe I'll be reeling this time next week. :->