I've been reading the March/April 2012 issue of Writer's Digest. In "5 Story Mistakes Even Good Writers Make," Steven James writes, "Believe it or not, you don't want readers to admire your writing: You want them to be so engaged in the story itself that they don't notice the way you use words to shape it."
The story is what matters, and while all readers appreciate good writing, they don't want to be beat over the head with it. Anything that takes the reader out of the story is bad. I've had that experience recently with two books I've read. One author was so determined to make sure that the story took place in a given year that he threw in all sorts of unnecessary facts about that year. It took me out of what was otherwise a very good tale. A second book doesn't use quotation marks or attribute statements to characters. While I eventually adjusted to that, it was very disconcerting and detracted from the story.
As a reader, I want to lose myself in a story, escape from the world for a while. As a writer, I want to take this advice to heart. I should be the invisible author, weaving a memorable story without ever showing my face.