I am bad at writing lengthy paragraphs when it comes to guides. But bear with me. Now, on to the topic...
One of my big pet peeves that this forum's public hasn't seemed to notice is the lack of good grammar (There's decent grammar, but I am like your grammar teacher, AKA EVIL. Ahem, sadly enough.), especially when it comes to quotes. -.- Now, from what I've read, the rest of the writing is good, but please, mind the quotes! Put simply:
"Don't worry," he whispered with a faint smile. "I won't let you down."
"Don't worry." He whispered with a faint smile. "I won't let you down."
There's little difference, but I'm sure you can tell. Critical? Yes. A bit too much? Erm, not for me. Maybe for other people, but not for me. The thing is, this little mistake drives me insane because it seems like everybody does it and few point out the mistake. Just try to remember this when writing, because if you do, at least you've made someone happy.
This other thingamajig is optional, because it depends on your real writing style, but read it, and if you don't agree, please do not flame. Present valid arguements. There's a difference. Right, it's on description. Lengthy descriptions are OK. But what sometimes bothers me are descriptions that are... let's say, too romantic.
1. Try to use actual colors instead of, well, things that aren't colors, when describing the color of things. For instance, I've seen some people describe black hair as "raven" hair. Just say black if you mean black. As for different tones of colors, well... Pale, deep, and rich can all describe colors. There are also weird words like "chartreuse," "cyan," and "bisque" that stand for different types of colors. Obviously, though, it's not like everyone's going to know what they mean...
2. Vary the length of your sentences. It really makes for a better read. Having all really long sentences that drone on and on can get really tiring for a reader, and so do short, choppy sentences. If you intersperse them in each paragraph, however, it adds some variety and will get your story better marks. Or reviews. Or something...
3. Use a thesaurus. This might contradict what I said earlier about using colors instead of non-colors, but I'm guessing you get the deal. When you use a thesaurus, I'm talking about finding other, more specific words for overused words such as "said" (although you should use said every so often if you run out of words) and "ran" (ex: dashed, scrambled, sprinted).
4. Keep it real. Please do not go through a dictionary to look up words that are only used by Harvard professors and law school students. Keep your audience wide, and don't force them to flip through a dictionary trying to find the meaning of the word "asseverate".
Umm... If you find anything wrong, please post. But anyways, hope this mini-guide helped you! Now, I must go finish writing some fanfiction so I can actually post on the fanfiction board.
I absolutely and totally agree with everything you said.
Well, actually, I'm not sure about the thesaurus part, because all the times that I've seen someone give that advice the result has never been, erm, pretty. It's sad how few people actually know how to use a thesaurus. But it's a good bit of advice in theory, anyway.
Overall, though, I very much agree with you, and I say that you deserve a heart for writing this. <3 (<- and yeah, that's a heart)