The eleventh in the Vlad Taltos series.
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books (July 8, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765301474
- ISBN-13: 978-0765301475
More sources for ISBN 0765301474
Sources of informationEdit
Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Steve Brust's editor:Edit
- Woo! Jhegaala!
- Y’all’ll excuse me for a while here …
- The last few days I've been making decent progress on the new Vlad novel, which will probably be Jhegaala, and takes place between Phoenix and Athyra. I had an almost completed first chapter until it announced that it was now finished and that it would prefer to be a prologue, so now I only have a start on the first chapter. More important, the voice has come back nicely, and I think I'm starting to get an idea of the shape, which always makes things easier.
- He is wandering about, meeting interesting people, having interesting conversations, poking his nose into interesting problems, and just generally handing me plot hooks right and left, whistling like he doesn't have a care in the world. I just finished Chapter 5, which is much too fast for this stage of the book. He's behaving himself much too well.
I swear to Christ the son-of-a-bitch is planning something.
- I'm now on chapter 8, and rapidly approaching the one thing I knew was going to happen in this book. I'm getting close to the fulcrum on which the entire plot rests. This is the thing everything has been building toward, and from which everything else flows.
And I'm sure that it is right here that Vlad will fold his arms and say, "Won't."
But, anyway, onward.
- Okay, I now know what Vlad has been up to.
"Sure, Steve. No problem. I know just what you plan to do me. I'll cooperate. Yep, yep. You want me right there, in that situation. Okay, no problem. Eyes open, here's me, walking into it like a good, well-behaved protagonist. There. Just what you wanted. Now, how do you plan to get me out again?"
I should bloody leave him there. THAT'll wipe that stupid smirk off his face.
- After much pleading and begging, That Man finally relented and told me how to get him out of the mess I'd put him in. So, for the moment, all is well. Starting chapter 11.
- I've made it to the beginning of chapter 12, but now things slow down a bit while Vlad and I try to piece together what's been going on. I'm willing to help with that part. Hell, I'll even go back to earlier chapters and plant fat, big, clues for him. But once he knows, then it's all up to him what to do about it. I wash my hands of the whole thing.
- Noish-pa is in the prologue. Unless I change my mind again.
- Occasionally, the bastard does come up with a line I like. Yesterday he handed me: "...another offering to the futility deities--the ones who make the crops fail."
Other than that, I'm in a tough part of the book; I've found that I need to re-shape it, moving what was the central point later in the book, so instead of a nice even and neatly balanced up and down, it should have more weight on the back end, if that makes any sense. In practice, it means a lot of persnickity cutting and pasting and trying to make scenes flow nicely so I can get back to moving forward with the damned story; all the while being interrupted [...]
- The stuff that was chapter 9 is now chapter 10, and he found himself in the middle of chapter 14, wondering how he got there.
Now, can someone please explain to me what Bilbo Baggins did for a living before his adventure?
- Vlad used a word I've never heard before, and won't tell me what it means. I suppose I don't really need to know, but it's annoying. Does anyone know what a "flaisl" is?
- By the time I hit Chapter 16, it's supposed to be going faster than this. I know, I shouldn't complain; the early chapters went so much easier than usual it's just a balance. But, dammit, I want to find out what happens!
- In other, more trivial news, I finished the first draft of Jhegaala, and am now starting the rewrite.
- I believe that the rough draft is a good time to put a gun on the mantelpiece in Act I, even if you don't know if it will go off in Act III. In fact, I like to put every weapon I can think of on every available flat surface. Here are two examples from Jhegaala:
Vlad is paying a visit to a local nobleman. As I was taking him through the fellow's manor, I noticed I hadn't described any guards there. So, what the hell, I ran with it. Throughout the rest of the book, he was trying to figure out why this nobleman had no one guarding his home. I never did come up with a good reason, and it never fit in with what I was doing, so I took out all of his questions about it and plopped some guards there, one of whom later was kind enough to help out on a minor plot point.
During the early parts of the book, I found Vlad commenting a lot on the darkness (sight and blindness, I soon discovered, being an important if obvious metaphor in the early chapters). At one point, he was commenting on the brightness of the stars, but the lack of illumination they provided. Well, that just isn't true. Try it some moonless night out in the country: you'd be amazed how well you can see by starlight once your eyes adjust. But, what the hell, I ran with it anyway, and discovered that Vlad had always had poor night-vision, compensated for by simple witchcraft. Was this going anywhere? I had no idea, but it was just the first draft. And then, just as I was getting ready to go back and remove all that, it fit so neatly into a plot hole that my only worry is that it will look too contrived. I don't think so--the feeling is good so far; but I might yet change it.
The point is, when I find a mistake or an oddity in the rough draft, I love running with it, just to see if it goes anywhere. That's part of the fun for me.
- I moved things around some more, tightened things up, eliminated a few redundancies and am printing version 3. It is even more heavily back-end weighted now: the incident that was once the center is now chapter 11. I'm pretty happy with the shape and the feel. I'm going to set it aside for a day or two, then read it over again for the Will Shetterly Honorary Pass (that's the one where you go, "do I really need that word?" and then send it in.
I hope it, like, doesn't suck too much.
- Jhegaala has been delivered. Now I wait and see if Teresa thinks it sucks. Fortunately, at this point in my career, things like that no longer worry me.
Odd. My fingernails are much shorter now than they were twenty minutes ago. Can't think what might have happened.
- I heard from Teresa, and Jhegaala seems to need a lot of work. So that should keep me out of trouble for a while.
Revisionland, here we come.
- First to TNH, my editor, who heroically sat on the phone with me for several hours, going over, line by line, the parts of Jhegaala I was having the most trouble revising. That pass of revisions is now done, and I'm back at work on the next Vlad novel, pending another round.
- Whew! Just heard from Teresa, and the revisions on Gigolo have passed muster. I am much relieved. I may change my mind in the next few years, of course, but for now I'm very happy with this one--happier, in fact, than I've been with any book in some time.
Speaking of Teresa: one problem with occasionally slipping the names of friends into a book is that sometimes when you don't do it, it looks like you have. Just for the record, the character of Tereza is not, in fact, intended to be any sort of reference to anyone I know.
- Fresh from the collapse of his marriage, and with the criminal Jhereg organization out to eliminate him, Vlad decides to hide out among his relatives in faraway Fenario. All he knows about them is that their family name is Merss and that they live in a papermaking industrial town called Burz.
- At first Burz isn’t such a bad place, though the paper mill reeks to high heaven. But the longer he stays there, the stranger it becomes. No one will tell him where to find his relatives. Even stranger, when he mentions the name Merss, people think he’s threatening them. The witches’ coven that every Fenarian town and city should have is nowhere in evidence. And the Guild, which should be protecting the city’s craftsmen and traders, is an oppressive, all-powerful organization, into which no tradesman would ever be admitted.
- Then a terrible thing happens. In its wake, far from Draegara, without his usual organization working for him, Vlad is going to have to do his sleuthing amidst an alien people: his own.
An oblique reference to Nero Wolfe, the overweight armchair detective, is brought to our attention in case we hadn't noticed that Loiosh is acting as Archie Goodwin to Vlad's Nero. (P.260: "You know, Loiosh, I think I could get used to having you fly around and find out things for me while I just sit and do the thinking." "Heh. In a year you'd weigh three hundred pounds.")