In my fanfiction heyday, I encountered a lot of darn good writing from really talented young writers. One scene from a particular story still sticks in my mind, because it's so terrifying and so well written. This is from Project Mobitropolis
, a Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic by S. Davis.
Watch the way he varies the sentence structure. Long sentences that get shorter and shorter. Finally even punctuation is missing, conveying the frantic panic of Sonic's nightmare.
Sonic drifted through the water, semiconscious and delirious. He couldn't see ahead in the darkness, but then he couldn't see much of anything anymore. He knew nothing but the sound beating through the recesses of his mind. A countdown.t minus eight
As it counted down, he pondered. Snakes lay eggs, don't they? Perhaps that's what the mother hen was. Not a hen at all but a snake. A gigantic coiled snake, slithering through the vastness of space, just waiting for its abominable child to incubate. A blue snake, or a red one. Perhaps two snakes, coiled together in that ladder-shape, just waiting to lay one giant egg, big enough to destroy Mobius. An egg represents new life, but this is no ordinary egg. It is a death egg. When the death egg hatches, only chaos spills forth. Chaos spills forth, justt minus seven
like it did before, all those years ago. The red people, all decorated in gold and silver, running away from (the death egg?) from (snakes?) from some beast that hid out of sight, it changed shape somehow, it... it... wasn't... possible, it defied possibility, it wasn't a snake but something... it makes the mind hurt, it makes it achet minus six
It doesn't matter. The beast is gone now. It's in the emeralds. Chaos is in the emeralds now, it has saturated them, twisted them, they seek the evil, they seek it like they desire to be with it forever, because it's a part of them. Why do the red people still run? No, no it isn't them, they're not running,t minus five
it's Sonic who's running, he's running
, he's running
and the Master
is standing next
to him and commanding
him to run
and he must
or he will be punished
and it hurts
where they poke
him and he's running
but not moving
he isn't going
anywhere he's running
in one place
and it's killing
himt minus four, sonic
and the Master is laughing
at his pain
and the Death Egg
and his friends
is dying and the snakes
the red people
is runningt minus three, sonic, hurryand he can't make it in time because the Egg is hatching and he's so fast he's the fastest thing alive but oh God he's not going anywhere he's running on the spot and the red people are crying out to himt minus two sonic hurry hurry upand they are all dying every one the egg is hatching death the chaos the fury the death the machine the fate the death he's not moving he's not moving he's not moving he's not movingt minus one sonic hurry hurry hurry justjustrun.
Sonic realised that he was screaming and that screaming meant that he wasn't under the water anymore.
You don't have to understand what he's talking about to pick up on the hysteria. It's all in the style--full sentences, to run-on-sentences, to a bunch of fragments all chained together. Shorter and shorter paragraphs. And italics on almost all the nouns and verbs. You can almost hear Sonic's voice screaming.
And the mystifying countdown. Countdowns are always terrifying, particularly in narrative. It's like in a movie when the camera keeps cutting to that bomb's timer.
I'm not sure if a professional editor would pass something like this. But to me, this scene is all art. The sort of experimental writing I've only ever seen when the unpublished writer is writing from the bottom of their heart, and just want to hear the words sing.