Choose your style—If you want to write in short sentences that are easily understood by most readers, go for it. If you want to write at a college level, go for it. Just remember that there are consequences associated with whatever choice you make in this regard. Not everyone wants to read at the college level, so if you’re too difficult to read you’ll limit your market of potential readers. If you’re writing at a fifth grade level, you may lose some readers as well who find your prose too simple.
I wrote Murder at the Ocean Forest to be deliberately difficult to read with long flowing sentences and extensive descriptions. I wanted to paint the scenes for the readers. Some people haven’t been able to finish the book because it’s too difficult for them to read; they say they have to concentrate too hard. Other say they love the descriptions of the Ocean Forest Hotel since it makes them feel like they are there.
Another aspect to consider is character development and how you paint the picture for the readers. Do you want to describe the characters and settings in great detail so that the readers can visual them? Do you want to be more generic by providing the readers a basic outline of the characters and setting and let the readers fill in between the lines in their own minds? The answer to this may be a function of the type of novel that you’re writing. If the book is character driven where there’s only a few characters, you may want to be very descriptive. Same goes if the setting is the driving factor. In The Maynwarings, there are a lot of characters, some of which are more developed than others, but the setting at the Greenbrier Ranch is also important. The House of Dark Shadows is more of a character driven novel, since there are really only four main characters in the book…or are there?
There’s no right answer when it comes to your own style. You need to consider who your general audience is going to be and to whom you want to cater. Of course, you can’t please everyone, so go with what you’re most comfortable with writing.