Red felt shame on his friend's behalf fill him and he fought to keep contempt out of his voice as he replied, "So, you're scared. Is that what this is all about?"

This little paragraph isn’t good – rewrite it – but the idea is. I feel like you should dig a little bit deeper, here, into the fact that Red feels shame for his friend. Not that he’s ashamed of him, not that he feels like he needs to be shamed, but actually feels it for him. It’s a great concept for superhuman fiction, and could possibly be a stroke of genius on your part if you can nurture that idea, expand upon it, and execute it well.

Duff exploded, shouting while gesticulating wildly with his cane.

We don’t need anything here other than “Duff exploded”. Leave it at that, and let us imagine the rest.

"Afraid? I'm terrified out of my goddamn wits. We've suffered too much and came [come] too close to the edge so many times these past seven years. Don't you remember what happened when we fought that escaped government experiment a year ago?"

Ok. You need to break the paragraph here. Not because it is too long, but because it changes focus – off of what Duff’s saying, and onto what the narrator is implying Red’s feeling about it. A break will seem more natural, I think. Also, for him to have exploded, maybe there should be a few more exclamation marks.

How could he forget? You'd think it would've been the feeling of his skull caving in that stuck with him for the months of physical therapy and pain, but it was the crunch and squelch that still kept him up at night. And Duff, who before had used to smile and dance as he whistled a shanty, was [remove “was”; add “had been”] confined to a wheelchair for months.

"I know that your wounds still ache, Arthur." Duff was right, Red's old aches and pains sapped the strength from his body, his eyelids drooping and head nodding in agreement until a crack of thunder jolted him out of feeble state of mind.

What? What just happened in that last bit? Did he fall asleep? Right after Duff mention’s it? Definitely simplify that.

Red's weariness was replaced by fury after he realize what had happened. "You son of a bitch![“] he shoutedremove comma; add period], "I can't believe you tried to mentally influence me[comma] you two[ – ]faced rat!"

Ok. I get it. But that’ll still need simplified, up there. Change the first sentence here to, “Red’s weariness was replaced by fury as he realized what had just happened.”

But Duff merely shook his head, letting Red's wild rage flow over him. "I've lost things too, Arthur." He held his cane up in the light[remove comma; add period], "I'm only twenty four years old, and being a hero made me a fucking cripple!" Duff threw his cane to the ground and [then] pressed his right arm against the dripping damp surface of the brick wall of Moe's auto repair shop. He closed his eyes, no longer directing his words towards Arthur. "I'm sorry[add comma] Arthur, but we've barely escaped death too many times[add comma] and I will not allow my child to grow up without a father[remove comma; add period], I can’t do that to him or her.[“]

Remove “wild” in the first sentence. It’s unnecessary, and it’s more coherent without it. We don’t need to know that it’s Moe’s Auto Repair. It doesn’t add to the story, and it prolongs the sentence. Rewrite that as: “…pressed his right arm against the damp surface of a brick wall.”

Red opened his mouth to retort[use some other word besides “retort”], but then the peal of the city's speaker system echoed over head [overhead]. A regal voice called out over the airwaves[remove comma; add period, or colon], "Attention[add comma] Superheroes, this is mayor Anton Skavosnik requesting immediate aid at city hall. The hall is under siege from a group of villains calling themselves the Thrillkillers, so come quickly[add comma] for your city needs you now more than ever."

“Mayor” needs to be capitalized because it is a title here, and, as such, a proper noun. So is “City Hall”, so it should be capitalized as well. I think you should have the mayor have a different name for “superheroes” than just that. As he is part of a governing system, try and think up what such gifted individuals would be called by a governing force in the real world.

Duff stared in horror as Red pulled the hood of his costume over his head. Duff cried out, "Please[add comma] Arthur, don't do this. Don't leave me alone. Leave this life and be my kid’s godfather. You're my best friend, and without your powers you're going to die out there."

I wouldn’t make Duff this horrified. I mean, it’s nothing new, right? He’s been considering himself a superhero, even without his powers, for a while already, right? Just have Duff ask him not to go, but without as much drama.

Red turned his head away from his friend, his stomach already rolling. "Yes[add comma] Duff, I will probably die fighting evil. If not today, then some other day. But the moment I refuse to stand for what is right[add comma? (not sure about this one)] I am already dead."

With that, Red broke into a run, racing towards danger[add comma] and away from the pleas of his crippled friend. His skull throbbed with every step he took.

You didn’t need to break the paragraph there, and it would make more sense if you used “he” instead of “Red” in the first sentence. That is a solid ending line – not too melodramatic, but with meaning.


AUGHRGH, I need sleep! Also, I just realized that this is the longest thing I’ve ever written. This fucking critique. Fuck.


*Pros: * It’s a nice story. It’s written much better than the last two that I critiqued like this – so much better. It’s got some good ideas. It’s an interesting story. I like it.

Cons: It needs some editing on the grammar. It needs some editing on the story. Besides that, the whole thing could still do with some polishing. It’s not an intriguing story. It’s not something that I would pick up and read – but then again, I’m not super into superheroes and the like.

I can’t think of anything else right now. If I wasn’t as tired I’d give you some motivational paragraph custom-suited to what I think of you as a writer, but I’m too fucking tired, and I’m not going to come back and do it.

Let’s suffice it to say, at least I wasn’t as pissy as I was with the other ones. Finally, I hope I did all of reddit’s formatting right, but I am not going back over the whole thing to check.

/r/OddFiction Thread