Think about it.
A dear friend of mine asked over Skype for my definition of a good (or a bad) story. I was a little taken aback, as never in all my years of study had I been asked this question. This in turn took her aback, as she was expecting a perfected definition. After thinking and babbling for a while, this is what I came up with:
A good story is one in which a true and important thing is deliberately communicated to a reader, in an honest and tolerably memorable way.
A poor story is one in which the thing deliberately communicated is decided upon after first checking what the reader wishes to hear.
And a dreadful story is one borne from whimsy, in which much is communicated but none of it with much deliberation.
Then we had a wonderful conversation about immersion, and decided that the definition ought to be revised to include a degree of cognitive immersion - a good story should have you still thinking about it weeks later, earning for ourselves a deeper and richer understanding through introspective analysis - through all those snatched minutes when riding on the bus or walking about, or when pretending to listen, when our minds keep returning to what happened. Not just through reading the story or through hearing about the story or through discussing the story, but through thinking on it, solo.