In the Hole or Under the Waterfall?
In baseball, being “on deck” refers to the very next batter, after the current batter is no longer batting. There is a more unofficial term for the player that’s two batters away from action. They are sometimes referred to as being “in the hole.”
And the one coming up after that player? Though literature is scarce on this term, I did hear this position referred to once during a broadcast as being “under the waterfall.” I can’t independently confirm how recognized that term is, but it will serve my purposes for today.
Of late, I find myself considering ideas for a major project, a novel, that may be not only in the hole, but as far removed as under the waterfall.
My next novel is Project Beta (working title) which I’ve mentioned here recently. I have edits and revisions to make to it for at least several months now. That’s the current project. That one is on deck, no doubt about it. (If you’ve lost the metaphor, a novel is “at bat” when I publish the thing.)
Normally during the mid-to-late revision stage of one novel, I’d allow myself to at least take notes, or even scratch out an outline on the next. I don’t like doing too much on one novel before the first is complete, it happens sometimes. Yet this time, despite several ideas, themes and characters taking initial shape in my mind, I don’t know if it’s to be my “next” novel. I don’t know if I’m at a place where that novel should be in the hole, under the waterfall, or even further into the future.
For one thing, it feels like it could be a literary novel more than my usual genre piece. Project Beta is already more literary in some regards than my previous work, but this future project would be even more so than that. Do I want to go literary that deeply, so soon afterward?
This concept I’m pondering could potentially require more words than I’m used to. It might not, of course, but it feels like it would be a longer one. I don’t know if I am in a place, mentally, spiritually, or time wise for a piece of such length to come next in my line up.
Also, though I’ve not officially decided on what my next novel will be (in the hole), I have had a backdrop of one in mind for most of this year. The irony is, the structure and theme, though not the plot, would be similar to this other novel I’ve been talking about. To write both would probably be redundant to me as an author, yet aspects of both appeal to me.
And if I pursued this novel at any time, I sense I will need more quiet than I generally have required for my work so far, and for longer periods of time.
I was also giving consideration to going the traditional route at first for whatever novel I put “in the hole.” Longer, literary fiction from an unknown is not at all a wise route to find an agent.
Yet I see it unfolding over the last several weeks. I’m sure things would change a bit as I actually wrote it, but a rough map has appeared. (Based, I admit, on an ancient story, as is the other novel I had in mind.)
And of course, all of this is based on the assumption I will write this novel at all, ever. (Though as time goes on, the more certain I feel that at some point I will.)
But will I write it next?