Meh I don't read enough to be able to objectively comment...and in any case I'm prejudiced.
Like I mentioned before, I only really follow Rokun's stories, even if I fail to comment (hey I can just tell him directly on AIM xD).
But Yuuyami's extremely long post pretty much summarizes most of what I have to say, probably because that's part of what I've been scolding her about and teaching her for. XDD
I'll like to add on to the general tips though, about details and characterization. Not really specifically aimed at anyone, just a general guide on what I think is important.
The devil's in the details. Seriously. From what little I've skimmed over in some of the newer stories, there is some good description but there's no real detail
. It's like watching TV and everything's in black and white. Well, not quite, but you get the analogy. The girls just DO things, and their feelings are like something out of a comic book *BOOM*, *BANG*, *ANGST*. It feels very shallow, and I can't connect to the characters. Maybe it's just me, but I can't sympathize with them. It's like their cardboard cutouts bearing the names of the girls, and that just isn't right somehow, to me. They're actually real people that we borrow in our stories, so we should at least try to treat them like real people, not just little figurines that we move across our Lego-brick universe. *endrant*
Take heart though, that's where most of us start. AA has that exact same problem at times, but then again I was aiming for light-hearted comedy (although my dramatic angsty side kicked in again...). It's a matter of respecting your characters, fictional or not. Writing can be as precise as a science and as elegant as an art. Storytelling and storywriting are almost two entirely different things, since TELLING a story requires different parameters given that you can modulate your voice and have gestures to add to the effect, so the words used can be different. WRITING a story though, lacks that visual aspect, but it does give you more flexibility in choosing what to show and what not to...it allows for more detail, but it is also more difficult in that you have to recreate the visual and audio effects...in words.
And it's not just a matter of just putting "she felt this" or "she did that" or even just "something exploded". Build up is very important. Things don't usually just happen on the spot, even if from the character's perspective it feels very sudden. The writer should knows what leads up before, and depending on the story, allow the readers to see it too (unless its necessary to keep it from them for plot purposes).
Remember, the writer is basically God in our own little story universe, since we have the ultimate power there to write or not to write certain things in. But (forgive the cliche
) with great power comes great responsibility. You have the power to write, but write well
, or at least try to. It's a constant learning process that I'm working on as well, since perfection is a progressive concept.
Another factor I would like to mention (since I've been scolding Yuuyami about that for AGES), is movement. What movement, you might think? Movement as in the camera view...I know this isn't a movie or a video, but bear with my analogy. xD
Haven't you noticed how when you choose to focus on certain characters doing certain things and follow them around, it's a great deal like having a camera view of what happens? You can choose to focus on certain details, or purposely leave things out of the scene. You can zoom in on an expression, or zoom out for peripheral details. You can choose to film at different angles for different effects.
With that in mind, a camera view is, necessarily, not static. Unless it's for effect (I can think of some examples), but generally the camera view moves with the character (or not, depending on your focus), and there is a CONTINUITY in movement. Don't underestimate how these little details add to the feel of the story. Little things like following the fluttering of hair or a subtle flick of the wrist add color to the landscape, but it must be judiciously chosen, to suit what you want to emphasize about the character or scenery. It draws people into the story, by giving them a detailed imagery of what is happening.
Naturally, not everyone likes this style because it can be TOO involved, that much I'll admit. It's possible to be overloaded with details, so it takes practice and experience to learn how much is just right.
The thing is a lot of the newer writers have great ideas, excellent ideas, really, but the execution lets them down. It's one thing to have a good idea, it's another thing to convey it in a manner that shows how great it really is. But that takes practice, since no one gets good overnight. It took me years to even come close to scraping the underside of "good".
But it helps if people point out what's wrong though. I learned that lesson the hard way 4 years ago, on another forum, when I was still a noob writer. I was scolded to the point of tears, and swore never to write again...a promise I followed for two years before I was drawn back to the writing world by anime again. But high school had improved my writing skills, so it wasn't as bad this time...but it still took time.
Well that's just sharing my perspective. If anyone wants to talk to me, there's always IM. I tend to ignore my PMs a lot, so that isn't the best way to communicate with me. Lol. Don't be intimidated, I don't get scary until I get to know you better...oops, maybe I shouldn't have said that?