Reviews for Helena
Faithless Juliet chapter 1 . 4/14/2013
First off, I love MCR – this is totally a side note, but I loved how you incorporated this idea of ‘Helena’ into this story. I think that song in particular speaks to a lot of people.

Okay, to the review: I loved how the concepts of good vs. evil were completely blurred in this piece. Even though it’s all dialogue (I’ll get to that in a minute) you still manage to show themes and concepts, which is not an easy thing to accomplish. Zane’s character also changes and progresses as the story unfolds, which was also nicely handled.

In terms of the dialogue, well, I like it but I don’t like it in the same time. I like it because its experimental, and it WORKS, I didn’t feel confused or overwhelmed. I dislike it because as a reader I really found myself craving more from these characters and this world. I’m intrigued by the female, and what her role is in corralling all of these serial killers into this scene, and how Zane came to be there, as well as what would happen. I also think you did a great job at using the idea of ‘Helena’ as an archetype for both characters. It lets the female empathize with Zane, while it lets Zane ‘control’ his raging thoughts. Nicely done.

Much love,
Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 3/31/2013
All dialogue is very interesting. I think it works here and you did a great job of keeping the voices distinct. Even when you had Zane’s dialogue span two paragraph, it was very clear that it was him. I also like this technique in this context because the questioner is trying to figure out what happened, and the audience can’t know anything except what Zane says, so it’s like two mysteries.

I also like the ending. Because of the lack of description, we’re left to wonder whether Zane was crying because he’s seriously ill and thinks Helena exists, or if he’s putting on a show. I like that you leave the door open for interpretation.
Nitzan chapter 1 . 3/22/2013
ha, i love the end
flashangel chapter 1 . 3/13/2013
Oh. My. God. I loved it. I loved how he was all Helena this, Helena that, and in the end, it was just like pow! She was never alive. It makes me wonder of what happens next. And thats one thing I hate. You have one shots when I anticipate for the next thing to happen. I know it's pretty hard to make a long story, but when its yours, I'm dying to know whats happening next.
Shampoo Suicide chapter 1 . 2/20/2013
It's interesting that you note Helena was just a mechanism for justifying his killing. I know it's not part of the story, but it really brings out the sociopathic nature of his actions. I wonder what it was that led him to kill his family-pure evil, or other motives? The unresolved ending makes it really intriguing for the reader.

I think the experiment in all dialogue worked well, it was simply executed and flowed nicely. The stories he tells of his murders seems realistic of an actual serial killer (at least of the Law and Order SVU type, haha), the way they start off slowly and hesitantly then move on to more evil acts as they become more comfortable with killing. The fact that it escalated to eating someone's heart is just great (not literally of course, but you know, writing-wise). The line about dried blood on his face was just fabulous. Adds some dark humor to the piece. I really loved it!
Unweighted Book Author chapter 1 . 2/19/2013
I love dialogue, and I've toyed around with the idea of writing a story with only dialogue before. I have to say that I really feel like it's been done well here. There are a lot of potential problems with such a story, of course, like having to establish the context and the identity of the speakers. Using an interrogation allows you to overcome those problems very naturally here, which I think is a great idea.

The dialogue itself flows very well, which is the main concern of a story that's entirely comprised of dialogue, of course. Everything is paced well and there was no word or phrase which felt awkward or out of place, which made it a real delight to read. Another obstacle in using only dialogue is that you don't have the benefit of speech tags, of course, which creates a real problem in terms of conveying emotions. The dialogue has to carry itself. Again, I feel like you've done well here because the main point of the piece - Zane's madness - does manage to be conveyed with only dialogue. This is partly helped by the fact that you mentioned actual events within the speech itself to further emphasize that point. I'd also like to mention that you managed to do so without going overboard and exaggerating his insanity, which is a major plus point in my book.

It's a very readable story overall, but if I had to make a criticism, it would be that the final twist of the story was fairly obvious. If you wanted to make it more difficult for the reader, you probably should have added more signs that Helena really did exist. As it is, it's very clear right from the beginning that Zane was just crazy, and it's easy to infer that Helena was just a person he made up.
Rogue Energizer Bunny chapter 1 . 2/19/2013
I like the idea of using only dialogue to write a story. I think you pull it off well, here - the story is easy to understand even without narration. It's something I've thought of experimenting with, too, but never got around to it. Props for pulling it off.

I'd like more reference to the setting in the dialogue. Just from the beginning, it's hard to know where it's taking place, so talking head syndrome is a bit of a problem.

I'd like the dialogue to be a little less up-front, too. You do a good job of making things clear, but they're a bit too clear, and it almost seems canned. If she's a killer, too, you could really play with the crazy button here.


Great experiment! Keep playing around with your stuff. I love all the risks you take with your writing.
The Autumn Queen chapter 1 . 2/18/2013
In terms of your summary, I think "wasn't" sounds better than "blood". Granted, it's one of those words that's both singular and plural so "weren't" isn't technically incorrect, but it just sounds odd.

The all dialogue approach is an interesting one, as it gets rid of tags and outside descriptors, leaving it entirely to the speech between two characters to get the information. The problem with that though is getting in their reactions; I think that although you've varied your punctuation vastly, you've left out the exclamation marks and that makes the dialogue a little weaker at parts. So while I like how you've brought the focus entirely onto the dialogue instead of it being an accessory (like it normally is with me), I think you could have utilised it a little better. At times, especially towards the end, using ellipses at the beginning of the questioner's words would have helped as well.

The other thing that doesn't really appeal to me is the questioner's character; he's acting like the good cop and bad cop rolled into one. This sounds like it takes place in a police station. If it was a lawyer, it might be more believable, but he seems too sympathetic and soft in dealing with a serial murderer, let alone questioning one. The sarcasm at the beginning makes him seem a little immature too.
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 2/18/2013
Oh man I really enjoyed this. At first I wasn't sure how someone would be able to really tell a story without any setting or action, but you do a great job using the dialogue to fill in the reader's imagination. I don't know what it is about serial killers and sociopaths, but I find them fascinating, so I was especially excited when it was made obvious that Zane is a serial killer. And his voice is hilarious - he definitely sounds detached from the entire thing. I don't know if you're a fan of American Horror Story, but there's a character in there named Tate who is a sociopath, and your main character made me think of when Tate he talks about the stuff he did or the things he fantasizes doing. I think that's another way you make the dialogue stand so well on its own, because the voices are so distinct and unique. Even the doctor. Or is he a police officer? Meh, it doesn't matter, lol. I kept finding it funny how he was calling Zane "kid," and I actually think he felt kinda sorry for Zane at the end.

I really like your theme, too. And I'm so stoked because it's kinda something I want to bring up in WEEL, that whole concept of insanity and 'can you really blame someone for being a murderer when they're obviously mentally deranged?' I think you tap into that question really well here with giving a rather unique situation. On the one hand I know Zane is completely bat-shit crazy, but then on the other hand... it's kinda sad knowing he did this all for his "little sister." You say it's his mechanism for killing, and I'm wondering if he started killing *first* and invented her to justify it, or if Helena came first and he started having to kill people in order to keep his imaginary sister from dying. Either way I don't think it really matters. The whole "insane" vs "sane" complexity is still there.

Did you name him Zane because it's almost like "sane"? Just curious. I noticed that once I got to the end, and if it was intentional, I think it's really clever.
lookingwest chapter 1 . 2/18/2013
Ahh wow, when I read at the beginning that this was all dialogue I was a little skeptical that it was actually going to work, but you did exactly what I think needed to be done and kept the conversation between the two characters and didn't introduce a third. That was a good idea. Overall I think that technique makes this experiment successful too. I like how you characterized Kid and the questioner too by using their dialogue to develop them - I was also unsure if your characters would have depth/development but I think you definitely do achieve that and work up to a change that we see in the Kid. Very frightening justification. I couldn't help but think of the song and the music video during this too, and per usual I think you work within those realms really well!

Let's thing I guess you can't really do in a piece like this is nod towards the setting, but then again, I think the fact that you have this questioning of a murder happening it kind of creates the setting just by the way the reader is more than likely familiar with the police questioning table with the detective on one side and the killer on the other. I think you make this successful because of that - so good job with the whole senario too, and the whole scene. Overall, this was cool! I like the experiment, I think it worked, actually! I liked the plot progression and the turn at the end too when we find out about Helena. I actually don't think you need the A/N because it speaks for itself - it was clear to me what happened. Fun piece!