Helen (Helenish)

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Name: Helen
Alias(es): helenish, heleninhell, helen8
Type: Fan Writer
Fandoms: The Sentinel, The Phantom Menace, Sports Night, popslash, Harry Potter, Stargate Atlantis, Inception, Teen Wolf
Communities:
Other:
URL: livejournal
at AO3
on twitter
on tumblr
personal website
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Contents

Helen is a popular slash writer who has written fanfic in several fandoms. She is also known as Helenish (her livejournal account name).

Fan Comments

When Helen arrived in Sentinel fandom, she was initially controversial due to her lack of capitalization and odd. use of punctuation; she often used a period in place of a dash or a pause in dialogue - It didn't take long for people to figure out that this wasn't some inexperienced newbie, but someone who was genuinely experimental with prose: who knew the rules [and broke them anyway].[1]
Yes, the punctuation and lack of capitalization take some getting used to, but she's worth it. If you read her stuff aloud, you'll see that she's perfectly captured the guys' speech patterns (well, okay, not their speech patterns exactly — the Jim and Blair on the show were never this funny or bitingly articulate — but the speech patterns they would have had, if only the show had had better writers). Read her for the humor and the honesty. [2]
A lot of folks have [problems with Helen's style of dialogue], but I've realized something about it. People talk like that. She's got the weird pauses and stutters of normal speech in her dialogue. It's not whispering or anything, it's speech rhythm.

If you read Sports Night at all, check out her Sports Night stuff; it's so perfectly bang-on there that I can hear and see the characters based on the dialogue alone--and in fanfic for a show where so much of the characterization is based entirely in dialogue, it's tremendously and fabulously effective.

I don't think it works as well in general as it does there, because when you have fanfiction for The Sentinel, honestly, the odds are pretty good that you can come up with better dialogue than the show had.

Her dialogue is transparent in Sports Night (to me) because it's *so* close to the way those characters actually talk that I get completely lost in the rhythm of it...floating...floating... Doesn't work for me in Sentinel. And so I get frustrated, despite the bang-up setup and characterization. My problem is that it's very difficult for me to associate anything that feels that much like real-life dialogue with my mental image of Jim and Blair. Sports Night has a lot of very talkative characters with distinctive speech, and Helen's style is *so* like them that I get very vivid imagery just from the words. But it's so UNLIKE all my mental images of Jim & Blair (who are much less real to me, in a lot of ways, than the folks on Sports Night; they're more stylized-fiction-characters) that I can't not notice it. It's not that it's not good. It's that I *notice* it. And I don't really *like* noticing it.

What I like about a lot of other writers is that they manage to make things witty and original and not-banal while keeping enough to standard style that it's transparent. Helen's style is only transparent to me in *one* fandom (and oh my GOD it works there...can you tell I LOVE it there?), and that fandom ain't the one for a show as poorly written as The Sentinel. [3]

Influential Works

References

  1. User:Speranza, 14 October 2008 edit
  2. from This is Katya
  3. from Heleninhell and dialogue, posted June 2001
  4. http://helenish.talkoncorners.net/samep.shtml
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