No, the real question is, what do you, as a reader, want to be?
Where do you want to be transported? We all want to be immersed in a story, grabbed by the collar with that story, yanked out of our present reality by that story, and thrown into another place, with different people, in maybe another time, by that story. If we didn't want that, we wouldn't pick the book up and read in the first place.
So where do you, as a reader, want a book to take you?
Personally, I don't normally writer horror, so sometimes I think about having an honest-to-goodness horror story (because we know how rare they really are) yank me out of my own reality and show me just how non-horrific my life really is.
Wouldn't that be nice?
What if I opened my eyes and see my front door in front of me? Do I open it? After all, this is supposed to be a horror story. But then, my front door is so...non-horrific. I mean, I have a neighbor's door right in front of me when I walk out. I turn left and there's a stair way going down the three floors that I'm off the ground. As I take the first step, I can see another door in front of me that's really situated between the third and second floors. It's benign. It's a storage unit.
But what if I could open that storage unit and see my worst fears realized? What if, behind that one door, my entire family is gone? What if my parents, wife, and kids were all killed in some supernatural Act of God? What if, through that door, there is one task or one key that I would need to accomplish in order to set everything right with my world? And what if I only had one hour to finish this task...having no idea what the task is or if I even have the tools needed to complete such a task?
Would I be resourceful enough to pull out all the stops? Would my drive be enough to push me to find the missing pieces and rescue my family from total and eternal destruction? In one single hour?
What horror would I see that awaits my family through that door if I don't succeed? Would they be ripped apart, one limb at a time? Would I be made to witness the tissue of their skin being pealed from their bodies? Would I be made to endure their screams while they are being tortured, wishing they were dead, instead?
Or...maybe I'd enter a fantasy world through this door. Maybe the six foot depth of space that appears to the naked eye really holds a whole other world, like the Chronicles of Narnia? What kind of mission would I be on then?
Where do you want to be transported to when you crack open the pages of a book or click on the screen of an ebook to read that first page?
We all have them.
What are yours?
What do you dream about? What gets your heart racing in the morning? What lights your fire through out the day?
What are your demons? What do you fight and struggle with, within yourself? Things that most people don't know about that you struggle with daily. What makes life challenging for you?
Good writers channel both their dreams and their demons into their writing. Writing is an art, and artists channel their inner selves into their work. Those things we struggle with, we put into words and flesh them out into fictional or non-fictional characters to bring them to life on the page...or screen. We attribute our own characteristics and characteristics of people we know and people we meet into these two-dimensional beings to make them seem three-dimensional. We have to live in the character's world for a while, then add heart and soul to each two-dimensional figure head.
We do this so that...
As a reader, you become completely engulfed in this world that we've presented to you. The goal is that we've reached into you mind, into your heart, into your soul, and touched, fondled, even squeezed and yanked your personal dreams and demons and ripped them out of you and placed them on the page or screen in front of you. We've put them right in front of your eyes and make you stand up and take notice of them. We've brought them to life for you to the extent that you can't deny their existence...if even for a few hours.
And we do this....to please you, the reader.
Yes, we bring your demons and dreams to the forefront of your mind and our demons and dreams to them...to entertain you. To please you. To make you happy.
To give you a break from your own life. And to pull you into our life.
Then we'll let the chain drop that we've yanked you out with and let you fall back to your comfort zone, putting all of your dreams and demons back in their safe place.
But just until you read our next book ;)
Are you one of those readers that will gloss over killing and dead bodies in a book but will cringe or even yell at the author if there is so much as a hint of a curse word?
Are you one of those readers that will allow all types of sex and bondage and alternative lifestyles but will blast an author for one typo?
Are you one of those readers that is so holy that the hint of even a kiss will send your lust drive over the cliff?
Or are you a reader that has the philosophy "anything goes"?
What kind of reader are you?
Do you gloss over the occasional blip in the editing process? Or do you leave a scathing review because "in" should have been "on" on page 223.
Do you get lost in the story or does the story get lost on you?
I don't know. I'm confused. I don't see how a person can raise their ire about "fuck" being in a story yet not bat an eyelash about a dead body being on page 1. With blood and guts spilled. And even some semen left behind from the brutal rape. By a vampire. That sparkles. And then that vampire is the good guy and the woman that is no longer around is the villain. No offense toward Twighlight fans. I'm one of you.