It is a primal human need to connect with others. Stories give a unique opportunity to get to know another person better than you know your real life best friend. You are privy to the most intimate moments and deepest secrets. Bonus, by connecting to others we also connect deeper to ourselves.
Stories give a way to experience dangerous, taboo or even impossible situations in the safety and comfort from our own home. To feel what it’s like to be loved. To know what it’s like to kill. To experience the pleasure of having magical powers. By living vicariously through the protagonist, we get to experience anything and everything imaginable. Bonus, we learn from watching the protagonist handle universal problems.
Once we stumble upon a question, we must get the answer. This is why those horrible click-bait titles work so well. In stories, we seek the puzzle. We enjoy solving the mystery because it gives a sense of intellect and accomplishment.
As a writer, this means you don’t give your reader 4. You give them 2+2. Present a question or mystery and unravel it in stages. Show, don’t tell, so the reader can deduce for himself.
Specified per age group
Children age 0-5: 1, stories of wonder with comforting endings 2, Humour
Children age 6-11 : stories of wonder (98%) (fantasy, sci fi), humor (96%) and horror (92%). Boys begin interests in adventures.
Girls age 11-19: wonder, humour, horror (overall), also coming of age stories
Girls age 13-16: romance primary
Boys 11-19: Wonder, humor, horror
Boys 11: adventure
Boys 16: sexual content
Teen female: primary romance, secondary comedy
Teen male: adventure and porn
Adult male: obtain wealth (take care of family), thrillers
Adult female: stories on belonging, contemporary romance
Female 20-40: romance, humor, horror, mystery, some drama
Men 20-50: adventure
50+ men: drama, mystery
40+ female: mysteries, dramas