viggen
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Joined 08-29-01, id: 104389, Profile Updated: 07-19-16
Author has written 8 stories for Evangelion, Battle Angel, Gunnm/Battle Angel, and Wheel of Time.

About viggen:

Currently, I'm a seventh year Physics graduate student, so my time to write has been very limited. (Hee hee, I'm a published author; I will be second author on a paper coming out in 'Nature Communications.' Okay, yeah, this is like my fourth or fifth paper... but, 'Nature!')

Whoever you are, thank you very much for reading my work!

If you wish to read newer writing by me, I keep a blog updated every other week or so dedicated to my self-studies in physics, focusing mainly on quantum mechanics, and to science in popular culture located here. Before I started that blog, some of my pondering on that topic was ending up in this profile, so a few readers around here may actually be interested in that. While some of the posts over there can involve quite a bit of math, which is unlikely to satisfy a fanfic reader, some are more philosophical and generally accessible.

(6-28-12)- Work on fanfic has been regrettably slow; I've actually been focusing on an entirely original piece. My own world, my own characters. I want badly someday to publish a story of my own, but that will never ever happen if all my effort is directed at works owned by others. I'm decent, I see no reason to do anything but try. I do intend to continue my efforts on "Youngest Channeler" if only when there's spare time.

If you're a fic writer, keep it forever in mind that the goodwill you earn from 'your' readership is actually the fruit of someone else's labor. It isn't really your work people love, it's the work your work is based on.

I'm confused about my interests here a little bit; I like making people happy with what I've written and I know people will read my fanfic if I continue to write it, but I'll never be recognized for my own talent if I waste my time living in the shadows of someone like Robert Jordan. But, I may never be able to sell a work of my own, so it's appealing to write fic. It's gratifying that YC routinely floats in the top ten of the lists in the WOT category even though it is an original character fic --fanfic doesn't win audience for being truly original, hence the word fanfic.

(1-8-13)- "A Memory of Light" is out today. Guess what I'll be reading tonight.

(10-22-13)- I've seen a few comments over the years about my depiction of the character Ghedlyn that have had me thinking. People love to use the words "non-neurotypical" and "non-standard character" in their compliments/criticisms. I am not fond of these words. If you are thinking in terms of "neurotypical" versus "non-neurotypical," you automatically lose what makes a character unique as an individual as opposed to a stereotype. Every character you write should be "non-standard" if you're writing character correctly. While I know that Ghedlyn is autistic-like, remember always that the reasons for her illness are entirely fantastical --I don't know that this can be more clearly spelled out in the story than the number of sections devoted to spelling it out, but there you have it. Somebody somewhere is bound to not get that. There is exactly no reason for this illness to parallel the DSMV and I made no effort trying to be completely real-to-life with it. While the character was inspired by autism and savants, her illness isn't autism.

(7-11-16)- Response to Brandon Sanderson's "Calamity"

I just finished reading Brandon Sanderson's "Calamity" this past weekend. This is kind of a nice piece of forward motion in my literary pursuits because I've mostly not been well motivated to read fiction recently. The most recent prior work was a story by Alistair Reynolds called "Century Rain" which took me something close to six months to get through. I've generally liked Reynolds in the past, but "Century Rain" was painful and very contrived, I thought. I simply could not get into it well enough to really care about reading it.

It's nice to come back to Sanderson having not read anything from him for a while. He's reliably consumable. Maybe that isn't saying an amazing amount, but after struggling against that idiopathic obstruction that came out of "Century Rain"... "Calamity" flowed beautifully. The characters are in jeopardy, but they're never thoughtlessly sacrificed. I've sometimes had problems with Sanderson's bantering dialogue, but it's light enough to be only as serious as it needed to be. I found that a breath of relief, to be honest. I'm so tired of authors who think that a story is only readable if they're in the process of castrating somebody. How many Hunger Games wannabes have to be written? How many authors have taken Joss Whedon's shit-poor advice seriously? It isn't only about misery, people! Not every story should be "Game of Thrones!" You certainly can't be afraid of being cruel to a character, but that isn't all there is to drama, either.

I still think that Sanderson's books have quite rapidly become overpriced: $15 for 300 pages is outrageously high. Sanderson is good, don't get me wrong, but he doesn't walk on water! On the other hand, he is reliably readable. People suffer against the constipation of Reynolds or the torture-porn of Dashner (or pretty much anybody else) and suddenly $15 for a gasp of Sanderson doesn't seem too unreasonable anymore. I still have zero intention of picking up any more $3 self-published 'Cosmere' short stories, but I'm quite happy about the time spent on "Calamity."

"Calamity" contains a very interesting example of a physical concept that I feel is also quite important to literature.

This is the concept of a 'degree of freedom' (DoF). In physics, DoF refers to the particular aspects of a model that are capable of being varied. Given logical constraints, an object sitting on a desk can move anywhere on the surface of the desk, but it can't suddenly fall straight through the desk: an object so constrained can inhabit a plane, which is describable by two coordinates, or two degrees of freedom. You could incline that plane to make it a hill, say by lifting up one side of the desk, but the object is again constrained to move only in a 2-dimensional space along the surface of the desk, giving only two degrees of freedom. DoF basically just coincide with the dimensions describing where an object is located. With the angled desk, the object is able to move in 3D space now relative to an non-angled coordinate system, thus breaking DoF away from the dimensions of the system, but the movement vertically is coupled so that it depends on where the object is located on the desk residing in a 2D plane. The degrees of freedom are profoundly important to setting up a physical description of an object moving along an angled desk because the restriction of remaining on the desk causes it to slide since it can't pass straight through, meaning that degrees of freedom tell you where an object sitting on a desk can go when the desk is angled. If you install walls along the surface of the desk, or cut holes in the desk, you change how the object sliding along the surface is able to move under certain circumstances... if it slides across a hole, a third degree of freedom is suddenly regained and the object can fall through... if there's a wall, maybe it can't continue to roll or slide along some portion of the surface, meaning that only certain paths can take the sliding object from one end of the desk to another.

Characters or concepts in a self-consistent story work much the same way. The author establishes what space characters can inhabit by creating degrees of freedom in character and in environment. This may take the form of creating psychological qualities in the character or imposing relationships between two characters. For instance, it may be established that a character loves his or her mother. This automatically establishes a space of actions that will seem natural for a character to carry out with respect to a beloved parent: they would react badly to hardship befalling their mother, they would be motivated to cater to their mother's needs, or maybe they would be incapable of certain acts of self determination if they're living in their mother's basement. On the other hand, certain actions the character might perform will seem unnatural: the character committing acts of violence against that parent or acts of neglect will not fit with the character without stipulating reasons why such an act would make sense. But, being self-consistent significantly defines the structure of where a story can or will go. This is certainly a set of ideas which will be totally understandable to any experienced writer.

This idea becomes more sophisticated when you consider the economy necessary in writing a story. In a story, the author has a limited amount of space to set up and resolve conflict, which means that you usually can't give the audience information that goes nowhere. I mean, you can, but you usually shouldn't. If you are giving irrelevant information, the audience will soon begin to wonder why they need to know it. In sliding across that angled desk of life, the character takes whatever path it must take: if the existence of a pencil sharpener attached to one corner of the desk is not going to obstruct that path in some way, the time spent detailing that pencil sharpener in the narrative will be extraneous to sliding across the desk. Most of narrative should in some way facilitate the trip through the space the character occupies. Literary economy is literally the determination of how many degrees of freedom must be fleshed out in order for the story's resolution to be self-consistent.

In other words, if you set up a degree of freedom, you often are establishing a feature in the narrative that the audience expects to mean something. If the author spends time detailing a pencil sharpener on the desk the character is sliding across, the savvy reader will expect that the pencil sharpener must have a role in the outcome somehow. "If I didn't need this information, why did you give it to me?" people will ask. This is what makes a loose end in the story! If the author includes a character with a mother who he/she loves in the story, the savvy reader will expect that the character, the mother and the love for the mother to all be important to the story. As such, it can usually be important to ask why something is included when you include something that ends up extra.

Now, one of Brandon Sanderson's great qualities is his ability to tie up loose ends. In fact, I would suggest that he places huge importance on this in writing a story. He prides himself on being self-consistent AND economical! I would actually say that it isn't totally essential to resolve loose ends when writing a story, but it's definitely true that people will count it against you if you resolve nothing (this bothers me horribly in Alistair Reynolds's work; he typically resolves less than he might). On the other hand, if you operate under the rule that the story must not be just self-consistent, but that every loose end must be resolved --you can be self-consistent without actually being economical-- you do in fact place a restriction on yourself that the audience can exploit to see where the story is going. If you give only information that is relevant to where the story ends up, then everything you give must be important to the resolution. For instance, as happened in "Calamity," a particular Epic is introduced and is deliberately expressed as an aberration to the type... all Epics behave a certain way, except this guy. Sanderson spends time pondering this, which means he can't leave it alone later. When this Epic figures into a resolution to a major plot line some 10% from the end of the story, it is not resolved why this Epic is so different, even though the story walks away from where an action he was uniquely engineered to carry out was important... which logically tells you that this Epic must figure in to how the actual ending of the story is attained. You may not know exactly what the author is planning, but you know this guy is coming back based on the introduced DoF in the narrative. Economy says that this guy will reappear because Sanderson has a self-imposed rule that will not allow him to not bring that character back. If the identity of the ultimate villain is left mysterious to the very end, when you only include so many characters, there is no choice but to make the villain somebody the audience already knows: look for the villain to either be the character that hurts the hero the most (Joss Whedon's way), or the character that is least obviously the villain (what Sanderson has done in "Calamity"). Literally, this is just counting up degrees of freedom and seeing which are left unaddressed.

I don't think this is a bad thing, necessarily, but it is a method for using minimal information to be able to tell if a self-consistent author has completed a narrative. The author essentially paints himself into a corner so that he has no hope but to go in a certain direction without actually breaking his own rules.

So, I really did like 'Calamity.' That's the truth. It was a breath of air away from the stale funk of modern torture-porn. One aspect I was not satisfied with was that Sanderson was trying to make the ending a surprise that was a logical extension of the story. Because of how it was written, it was logical, but it wasn't totally a surprise. I thought unfortunately that this made the ultimate resolution of the series less substantial than it could have been. I would like to have read more about the point the whole series ended on, which ended up being less than 10% of the book bearing that point's name. The book would better have been called "Lime Light" instead of "Calamity."


viggen's work

A Layer of Dust: Written circa 1995 just after I first discovered Gunnm. Not quite my oldest fanfic.

The Hunter Warrior Killer: Written 1996-1997 in several large pushes. Started as a textural experiment, but mutated when I discovered that I really loved the villain. An inverse marysue?

Hidden Virtues: My first uber Marysue, written during the height of my Evangelion obsession in about 1998. Subsequently rewritten about four times and coming to include some of my thoughts about martial arts at that time. The formatting of this story has suffered through the upgrades and alterations to this site: it no longer looks quite like I intended. But, that's okay... I detest this story and keep it around more or less as a reminder of what I won't write again.

Serpent at the Window: My last Eva fic. Not a terrific piece of work, but written in the days preceding and following September 11 2001. This story contains my emotional response to the events of that day. I will not write an Eva fic again and almost decided not to write fanfic anymore after a confrontation with a friend based on criticism of this story. Criticism can be hard and is best not leveled by people you care about.

Self Assembler Saga: High concept science fiction that ended up crossed with an impression of "Calvin and Hobbs." This story died in my brain when the original creator of Gunnm began to write "Last Order" and totally trashed my perspective on the main character: she wasn't supposed to be a Playboy Bunny dammit!

Weaving Luck: Written 2005. This work contains the genesis of my current marysue Ghedlyn. There are actually several characters here that I really liked, including the protagonist Aes Sedai, her Warder and the character/s about which the story was originally named. No, the story was not named for Ghedlyn. This story stalled because I realized that it was going to be prohibitively difficult to write it and keep it perfectly true to RJ's original series, which is a fairly large requirement that I impose upon myself when writing fanfic.

Youngest Channeler: 2006 to present. This is my current focus when I have time to devote to fanfic. It was written as a substitute for a blog when I realized I liked the writing experience that blogging provides, but don't like talking about my own life a la journal-open-to-the-world. This story was for fun. I am still working on this, but my time has been divided lately and work is progressing slowly. The writing strategy here was slightly different than I would prefer if I were writing something like a full novel and I think it diminishes the quality of the work: the chapters are written and presented in an episodic fashion, meaning that there is little editorial interaction between the beginning of the story and the current section. This is disadvantageous because it means I can't correct for drift or strengthen/support new ideas had in the process of writing and it means that far reaching plot points are less structured than I would prefer. The block-at-a-time style does have the advantage that it gives immediate feedback, but I think the whole thing is less than it could be.

Desertion of Reason: Written 2009. I stopped "Youngest Channeler" long enough to write this story. It chases a strange psychological idea that I wanted to explore after reading some Philip K. Dick which I decided was uniquely possible within the WOT universe. This story is pretty dark and uninviting, but it is the first fanfic in recent history that I've written to completion prior to beginning to post it. There is an old theme of familial tragedy in here that I've explored in some of my other work and somehow it matched with the feelings of loss and loneliness existent in my life while I was writing it. I have a proclivity for insane characters and this story followed with that. I have no idea whether people will like reading it or not, but I guess that didn't matter while I was working on it.

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Youngest Channeler reviews
Saidar changes those who channel it, especially the very young. Hidden among girls wearing white, the youngest channeler begins her trip through the white marble halls toward attainment of the shawl, but her enemies are legion. Book 4 Chapter 8 posted.
Wheel of Time - Rated: T - English - Fantasy/Drama - Chapters: 64 - Words: 137,486 - Reviews: 225 - Favs: 115 - Follows: 115 - Updated: 2/11/2012 - Published: 1/14/2007
Desertion of Reason reviews
An Asha'man in the throes of the illness from the Taint struggles against all odds to return home to his loved ones before his last hour. Part five of five loaded.
Wheel of Time - Rated: T - English - Drama/Tragedy - Chapters: 5 - Words: 7,866 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 3/2/2009 - Published: 2/27/2009 - Complete
Weaving Luck reviews
An unusual Aes Sedai and her Warder stumble onto a platoon of Seanchan capturing a young girl. Conflict steadily unfolds around a prize of Knowledge and Lives. Chapter 4 uploaded... stay tuned for Chapter 5
Wheel of Time - Rated: T - English - Adventure/Drama - Chapters: 4 - Words: 18,318 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 4/26/2005 - Published: 1/2/2005
The Self Assembler Saga reviews
AR-11, a Tipharean android with Alita's face and mind, begins the search for her own identity after losing herself. The appearance of Gunnm:Last Order has stumped work on this story.
Battle Angel - Rated: T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 4 - Words: 9,330 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 11/11/2002 - Published: 2/11/2002
Serpent at the Window reviews
A lethal invader pentrates NERV HQ and a fifteen minute game of cat and mouse ensues.
Evangelion - Rated: M - English - Adventure/Sci-Fi - Chapters: 1 - Words: 8,779 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Published: 9/15/2001 - Shinji I. - Complete
Hidden Virtues reviews
A North American division of NERV comes into conflict with an Angel that is attacking an unexpected target. A cripple learns to unleash her latent gift Warning, new cast
Evangelion - Rated: T - English - Adventure/Sci-Fi - Chapters: 4 - Words: 42,445 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 5 - Updated: 8/31/2001 - Published: 8/29/2001 - Complete
The Hunter Warrior Killer reviews
A monster stalks the Scrapyard. I moved this story over from GBA because nobody else seems to be posting in this catagory.
Battle Angel - Rated: M - English - Adventure/Suspense - Chapters: 1 - Words: 17,711 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 5 - Published: 8/31/2001 - Complete
A Layer of Dust reviews
A contemplation of the nature of the world. My very first Gunnm work, now around seven years old... but, what the hey?
Gunnm/Battle Angel - Rated: K+ - English - Drama - Chapters: 1 - Words: 2,869 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 8/31/2001 - Complete
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