No, really. When I’m writing, I want to strike a deep sense of emotion into my readers. I want to make them laugh, sigh in relief, even yell out in anger sometimes. I know from beta feedback, at times, I very much have. This applies to when I’m reading, as well. If a reader can strike deep emotion enough to make me cry, I think it’s a major win. I want to be attached to the characters and feel for their struggles. Though, I really am not a fan of character death–I think all off this can be accomplished without butchering the main cast, personally.
I know it’s mean, but I often pick on side characters when it comes to death-scenes. I can’t let my main characters go, and you know what? That’s alright. It’s just how I write. There’s a lot of loss and trauma in my works, and I hope I write it in a way that comes across correctly. I like inspiring hope at the end and am not a grimdark author, nor will I ever be.
Just so, sparking emotion in my readers is extremely important, and something I take great pride in. If I’m reading someone else’s work, I will comment on a part that got me particularly deeply in the heart. I hope that someday I find similar notes on my books that come with a review. In a good way, of course. We all want our works to be seen in an enjoyable light, after all.
Granted, shock value or emotion for the sake of just getting the reader angry or sad isn’t a good idea. It should have a purpose in the work, to push the plot forward, and such like that. Perhaps it has a hand in character development. I’m not one for ‘the character has gone through a redemption arc but now must die’. I know that the How to Train Your Dragon Netflix series did it. They did it very well, granted, but it still was kind of disappointing, as I wanted to see more of the redeemed characters.
The purpose of art, which writing very much is, usually is to strike emotion of the viewer/reader/listener (whatever medium you’re using). Especially when it comes to storytelling. There will always be a variety of lessons in works, depending on the author’s visions, and the lessons or events will hit readers differently. Which leads to my next point–if someone isn’t struck as hard by a scene, I wouldn’t sweat it. Everything is subjective, after all, and it might hit one person hard while missing another.
In the end, it’s up to the author to get a feel for their audience and possibly anticipate their reactions, although no one can certainly predict everything!