I found your piece in the critiquables section and decided to leave some feedback for ^Beccalicious' 12 Days of Critmas competition.
I do not know exactly what you want critiqued, so I will go ahead and leave some general thoughts then do a quick line by line for specifics. Please remember that critique is subjective, which means you should use or ignore my advice as you see fit! Also, please ignore the star rating. I give all writing the same mid-grade at the stars are inadequate for measuring lit.
Disclaimers done! Let's dig in.
I have not read the original material for this story, so I'm basically critiquing this as a stand-alone piece with no knowledge at all of who these characters are, aside from the hints given that they're fallen angels from heaven.
What caught my attention was the opening paragraph. It was brilliantly detailed. Great hook!
I think you have some big areas where run-on sentences confuse the story, though. Particularly I am thinking of the third paragraph, but I will cover as much of that as I can in the line-by-line.
There are some areas where the POV gets a little confusing, too. This happens a lot when there are two male perspectives. More in the line-by-line.
The last two lines are also confusing. I think you mean them to read: "It doesn't matter where they are. Only where they've been." As it is now, you're basically creating an illogical statement because "where they were" is grammatically the same as "where they've been". See what I mean?
He likes the dirtiness of the way they fuck [For a punchier opening, I'd revise to: He likes the dirty way they fuck which cuts out a prepositional phrase. Prep phrases tend to be unnecessary and make your writing wordier than it needs to be, so I always go through and strike them out where I can.] ; in forgotten corners and abandoned crannies, shreds of soggy cardboard around their feet and sullen rust leaving
Ligur has never been bothered that they don't remember what they were before they Fell. Hastur thinks Ligur must have been a putto—one of those fluffy-feathered child angels scattering luck and love with every pit and pat of their chubby feet, all innocence and guile at once, [I'd revise this comma to a dash, which completes the interrupting clause with the same punctuating mark you used to start it. That makes the reading of that sentence a little less cumbersome.] until he grew up, fell down and got back on his feet with the mud of the Pit holding down his wings. He [Which he? Whenever you have both Ligur and Hester mentioned, you need to differential who is thinking (or not thinking in this case) because you are writing in third person and using all male pronouns.] doesn't think about it much either, most of the time. Memories are for people who can afford to be sad. [A powerful statement. Good closing for the subject matter of the paragraph, and makes me very curious about the source material! ]
He thinks about it in those times, though, when they're inside instead, in bed instead, under a threadbare stolen quilt or once in Russia a bearskin coat great enough for the two of them (he'd hated Russia, they both had; all the biting cold and pious old women, though it gave them a good excuse to keep each other warm); they're quieter then, sometimes almost silent as the grave, the shifts and breaths they can't keep back the only thing that gives them away to the empty air, and when he does think he realizes how small Ligur's hands are as they slip between his legs or over his shoulders, how soft his legs as they curl and cross and spread under his palms, how round the curve of his spine when it's over as it always is and they're lying against each other trying to adjust to being one being apiece once more.
[This entire paragraph is ONE sentence. That made for very confusing reading in the only part of the fic that gives some concrete background detail for these two. So, I've gone through and revised according to my own understanding of punctuation. Here's how it looks:
He thinks about it in those times when they're in bed instead, under a stolen, threadbare quilt. Once in Russia, it was a bearskin coat big enough for the two of them. (They'd hated Russia - the biting cold and pious old women - but it gave them a good excuse to keep each other warm.) They're quieter inside, sometimes almost silent with only the shifting of fabric and breaths they can't keep back giving them away to the empty air. When he does think, it is of how small Ligur's hands are as they slip between his legs or over is shoulders; of his soft legs as they curl and cross and spread under his palms; of the rounded curve of his spine when it is over, as it always is, and they're lying against each other trying to adjust to being apiece once more.]
And then, in that dangerous quiet, he wonders what it is they're doing there. What it is they've become.
But then Ligur will turn his face up and grin—that deceptively boyish face, almost cartoonish behind the cynical lines it's set in—and lay his mouth over Hastur's. He'll [Again, who? In this case, I think "They'll" works since both Ligur and Hastur taste the ash.] taste flecks of ash and remember the cigarettes they'd finished off like self-destructive chocolates, getting drunk on the back-alleyness of them all [who all?] and themselves, and he'll know—
It doesn't matter where they
Only where they've been.
Look out for those run-on sentences and extra prepositions. They scramble up what is otherwise quite visceral writing.
Remember to make sure we're able to follow whose head we are in.
Hopefully something in this is helpful! Good luck with future writings.
Thanks for choosing me! I'm impressed that you decided to take this on despite being unfamiliar with the canon book (it's called Good Omens, btw, and it's extremely good. Do look it up sometime-- unless you read PDFs, because I have one I'd be happy to send you). And I couldn't help but chuckle at the note in which you express your curiosity about the original material, because these two (yes, fallen angels) are actually only supporting characters who only get a few "speaking" scenes. I'm weird.
Though the last sentence was intentionally obscure (and "were" is more fitting of what I was attempting, if perhaps poorly, to communicate: the implication is that in the end Hastur would rather concern himself not with where they were before--ergo, the life as angels that they lost out on-- but where they've been since, after they fell together).
I tend to read aloud as much as I write, so much of it comes from "ear" (how it sounds when spoken) over by "eye" (how it looks on the page). I find this more natural, but I can see how it can get a little rambly and confusing to look at. Definitely keeping this in mind in the future!
All in all, I disagree with your belief that the star system is inadequate for measuring literature (why?), but I appreciate the many suggestions, and especially the line-by-line breakdown! Thank you so much. I really like some of what you did.
Re: Star rating - I looked at the official definitions for the stars on dA's FAQ and found that I don't apply any of that to rating literature. Originality is almost impossible in lit, technique is generally homogenized across the spectrum (unless you're writing ee cummings type poetry - which is now a technique itself), impact is important but I don't measure it by a star rating. Basically, what I look for is the stuff that makes me think, "I wish I'd written that." and a star rating doesn't do that justice.
I love fanfiction that tackles side characters! One of my favorites on ffnet is from Avatar: The Last Airbender. It was about how the girl Aang danced with grew up to be one of Zuko's main counselors. It was spectacular and focused on a girl who got maybe two minutes screen time in the show itself.
That sounds fantastic! I haven't been active much in the fanfiction scene recently, but I'm slowly dipping my toes back in now that I've found a book I'm really passionate about. And I actually RP these two on Tumblr, so they've come to be my favorites... even though in the book, they're nasty antagonists.
That's even better! I don't know if you watch Supernatural or not, but one of the big reasons I loved the show was because even the worst of the bad guys have moments of altruism.
I... sort of watch Supernatural? That is, I have a tumblr and it's everywhere there. Actually I've only seen a few episodes so far, but it's pretty interesting to me and I'd love to see more. Castiel especially intrigues me.
Fun fact: there's also a demon named Crowley in Good Omens! They're not all that similar, though.
You would like it, for sure! The first season is pretty episodic but it gets a cemented storyline by the second season. That's how most shows go, I've noticed. Castiel is my favorite character, hands down. You'll love him.
I wonder if Crowley is in one of the old holy books or something.
I totally already do. The episodes I've seen with him are the most impressive, imo.
It's probably a popular name because of Alistair Crowley... but you never know! Not any of the ones I've come across, certainly. But hey. The Good Omens fandom suspects that the Supernatural writers are GO fans-- there are a number of similarities.