You may notice that this is my first post so please forgive me if I make a mistake or two. I’m trying.
I am an English major (emphasis in creative writing) hopefully graduating next spring. I have taken several dozen lower and upper division writing and literature classes and am currently enrolled an upperdivision creative writing course (500 level) and this is the type of critiques we are doing daily. I don’t usually read this genre but, I think I can offer a few useful suggestions. Take them or leave them. I offer them in a spirit of helpfulness and encouragement.
First off, I think the story is quite effective although, as with all writing, there is room for improvement. In the very beginning the narrator goes back and forth between “long ago” and “not long ago.” If the writer is using this contradiction to establish that this guy is a bit off it works in a way but, I think he could establish that point without confusing the reader so much. I had to read those lines a couple of times before I clued into this guy being a bit off the proverbial wall. The narrator says in the beginning that he has a degree in journalism and since he should be somewhat of an expert (although that BA doesn’t guarantee anything!) I have to wonder if his word choice, in places, is a bit juvenile. For example, “Bright blue eyes that made a cloudless day seem like it was nothing more than mud with blue food colouring.” I think your brother will be able to come up with something a bit more original and less awkward if he does some word associating with “blue.” I find this technique to be extremely helpful. The “choir of angels” thing is a bit overused, although, the way he uses it isn’t totally cliche’. Also, a dress can’t be “two sizes too tight.” It may be two sizes too small and that would make the dress extremely tight for sure but, the language sounds uncomfortable coming out of the mouth. If you haven’t already, read the piece outloud. It is a tremendous help. Especially with a story like this with large amounts of dialogue.
There is a suspensful quality about the story that kept me scrolling down to see what this lunatic was getting at and the switch from first to third person is very effective as baraqiyal mentioned earlier. I also really liked the first line. It’s a good hook. I enjoyed the way he told the reader who the narrator was addressing. That “kind of like you and I do” is nice foreshadowing and by saving it for the third paragraph it adds to the suspense.
It’s great to see an older brother being so encouraging to a younger sibling. I hope you will continue to be supportive of your brother’s efforts. It is amazing how much that can make a difference in the life of a younge writer. Best of luck to your brother. The best thing he can do is keep writing and read, read, read, read, read! Hope this helps, Idoya (Did I mention that he should read? It is THE most important thing any writer can do!!)