|Alias(es):||helenish, heleninhell, helen8, Helen In Hell|
|Fandoms:||The Sentinel, The Phantom Menace, Sports Night, popslash, Harry Potter, Stargate Atlantis, Inception, Teen Wolf|
|Other:||Puppies in a Box|
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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. 
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. 
I wouldn't have started reading Sentinel at all if someone hadn't turned me on to Helen in Hell's fic and her site hadn't featured a random fic quote generator that led me to other authors. Helen in Hell's Jim and Blair can make themselves miserable over lengthy stories without once making the reader feel that the obstacles to them being happy together are just author-imposed instead of coming out of their personalities. You know what I mean; we've all seen the long fic stories that are dependent on the lead characters constantly bursting in at the wrong time or overhearing something not meant for them partway through, thus stupidly misinterpreting events one after the other like on Three's Company. Here Jim and Blair's difficulties in speaking to one another and their problems feel real. I have to warn you, though, that the eccentric punctuation drives the editor in me batty. Helen in Hell's personal essays are fun, and enjoy the random quote generator, I sure did. 
I like all of her stories, but ... I made the mistake of reading all of them in one sitting and got really depressed by all the anger and distance. So I read only one per sitting and get a good laugh and enjoy her creative take on conventions. 
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].
- Easy Come, Easy Go, popslash AU, an exploration of the noir genre. Author's commentary available here.
- The Same Inside, popslash, with its much imitated opening line, "Somehow, in the night, Chris had turned into a girl." 
- Theft of Assets, Destruction of Property, Harry Potter. Subverts aspects of the marriage of convenience/forced marriage trope.
- from This is Katya
- from Heleninhell and dialogue, posted June 2001
- Viridian5 Fiction: The Green Room version 2.0 Fanfic Recommendations (pre-2002), Archived version
- comment on Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (June 14, 2001)
- User:Speranza, 14 October 2008 edit