“. . . nothing can be made to be of interest to the reader that was not first of vital concern to the writer. . . we care about what we know and might possibly lose (or have already lost), dislike that which threatens what we care about, and feel indifferent toward that which has no visible bearing on our safety or the safety of the people and things we love. . . . the moment we stop caring where the story will go next, the writer has failed, and we stop reading.”
John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers, 42, 55.