Building an elf in this game is pretty delicate. Yes it's easy to have an *okay* elf, but to have a *good* elf you've really got to map it out, which can be a pain in the ass. Lifeskill, lifeskill, lifeskill, don't forget your windmills, and build your HP and defense as soon as you knock down as many CP-dependent skills as you can (those skills that require boss, awful, strong, etc., enemies).
Being an elf is really not hard, you've just got to be willing to put in the early work. For instance, your melee will be incredibly lacking, so r1 WM is a must (in my opinion, anyway). Other skills that you should rank include Combat Mastery for HP and strength, etc. Any number of things to build up your feeble elf body. If you'd like my recommended routes (skill growth charts) for building an elf (of any particular mastery; magic, range, melee, alchemy, whatever), just let me know and I'll post them up for you.