I believe it is a time-honored tradition, in fiction, to bend rules for a literary effect. I'm printing a short story for my critique group tonight. One critique-er is a very by-the-book kind of person, who gives formulaic advice. This is incredibly helpful, because there are details I routinely gloss over that come to my attention as a result of that feedback. And, obviously I am learning to view my work more critically as a result, because I am now here, asking this question.
Question: Is it valid to use sentence fragments (or run on sentences) in fiction, to add to the emotional experience? A sense of immediacy, pounding, heart thumping, racing action? Here is an excerpt, to give you an example. It has a sentence fragment (first bolded example) and at least one run-on sentence (last bolded example.):
The younger one was in her face now, wedging her left eye wide open. No! No, no, no!! “No!!” she screamed. She tried to turn her head sideways, tried to squint her eyes shut, but this one was strong too - and her eye was forced open. Then a blinding light, like both suns at midday, straight into her left eye. He was looking through the device, then an expulsion of gas, and everything in the left side of her skull was contracting, pulling, all at once. No! They know! “Help!!” She struggled all the harder, adrenaline coursing, giving her extra strength, the pain in her shoulder forgotten.
“God!” said the younger man, his face lit with pleasure.
The older one laughed. “That’s a good sign! The other eye, quick!”
Then her right eye, the same violation, the same expulsion, the same involuntary, brutal contraction. She thought her skull would crack from it. No! I’m not a degenerate! She screamed, “You are the abominations!” kicking, struggling, her left arm dangling like a rag doll. The one holding her pulled himself back and barreled his knee into her, with a force like a battering ram, straight into the small of her back, it felt like it would go straight through her. Howling again, she lost feeling in her legs. He dropped her, and she fell.
I believe the answer may be a simple yes, rules are meant to be broken and communicating urgency is a good reason for it! But perhaps there are nuanced guidelines on this, and having any feedback ahead of group may help with our discussions tonight.