Born in a Treacherous Time / Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Paleohistoric Fiction

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic. This year, my second year with A to Z, I’ll cover writing genres.

Today’s genre:

Paleohistoric Fiction


Paleo-historic fiction (aka Prehistoric fiction): Historic fiction set in prehistoric times

Tipsa to z

  1. As with any historic fiction, this must be based on fact and research.
  2. The antagonist is likely to be Nature or the environment in the form of the hardships the people confront on their journey.
  3. Your theme is likely Man vs. Nature–more Man vs. Wild than 1 Million BC.
  4. The good guys will be the human species you are highlighting in your book.
  5. Communication is done via alternative forms (telepathy or body language) likely long forgotten since these prehistoric times.
  6. Tribal mythology will be built around worship of the sun, moon, and the correct balance of the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water.
  7. Pay attention to words chosen and skills used that they are true to the times. For example, a hunter can’t have ‘nerves of steel’ when steel hasn’t been invented.
  8. Because much of prehistoric times weren’t recorded, make educated guesses extrapolated from facts.
  9. Remember that the people in your prehistoric times were smart and capable. They did not think of themselves as primitive. They were complicated people.

Popular Books

  1. Born in a Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray (coming Summer 2018)
  2. Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver
  3. Coyote Woman by Judith Robbins
  4. Dance of the Tiger by Björn Kurtén
  5. Daughter of the Goddess Lands by  Sandra Saidak
  6. Earth’s Children series by Jean Auel
  7. First American series by William Sarabande
  8. First North American series by Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear
  9. Reindeer Moon by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
  10. She Who Remembers by Linda Lay Shuler

Click for complete list of  2018 A to Z genres

More P Genres:


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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

57 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Paleohistoric Fiction

  1. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Prose | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: Love Prehistoric Fiction? Here are two not to miss | WordDreams...

  3. I’m getting a late start on your AtoZs so I thought I’d jump to my own genre, and you didn’t disappoint! I agree with many of your guidelines, especially #7 — it’s one of my minor stumbling blocks as I write because, at least with my 1st person view WIP story, even some common birds in their area need different names — can’t have a Kingfisher with no kings yet! Also, great list, and I’ll be sure to check out your book as well as the others!

    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Theme: Odds and Ends Dragons | Writing Dragons

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Earth’s Children. One of my favourite series and on my bookshelves which are designated “books not to be parted with at any cost” (we have a lot of bookshelves, but that is my most important).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always wanted a roomed walled in books. I’m jealous of your bookshelves. We have some in at least three rooms and I have a small pile of never-to-be-given-away books. Mine too includes Clan of the Cave Bear!


  5. Hi Jacqui – well done on putting your own book up at #1 … I tried to read one of the Jean Auel books and really didn’t enjoy it … but love reading about these subjects – I did enjoy Vancouver – the start of the city over millennia; Paleo-history is certainly to the fore today – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is little known about prehistory so writers in it (like me) have to research what is out there, extrapolate from what the smart people in the paleo fields say, and make sure everything is fact-based. That’s probably why it took so long to write my novel, now that I think about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jacqui,
    Thank goodness for comments. I read the list of tips and then just lightly skimmed the book titles because this genre doesn’t hold any appeal for me. However, when I realized from the comments that you’ve written a title in the list …. I’ll definitely read it. I’ll even look forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It isn’t for everyone, I admit. In fact, it’s a niche which is why I’ve ended up self-pubbing. No agent was convinced I would be the next Jean Auel. I’m fine with that. It’ll get out faster that way. I’m already half-finished with the sequel!


  7. Of course at the time, prehistoric people WERE at the top of human form. We modern humans are a bit arrogant to think we’re preternaturally brilliant. The tips list is really important to pay attention to, or you’ll end up with a One Million Years B.C. kind of book. That’s OK if you as the writer know and are the genesis of the joke.

    You know I love this genre and can’t wait to read your book. Sign me up for an interview, please.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yeah! As soon as I saw the genre I hoped you’d mention your book … and there it is! 😀Your points that make up paleohistoric fiction are interesting and I’ve learnt a lot from you. It’s easy to make the mistake to see the people then as simple rather than smart and capable. Jacqui, I haven’t had a chance to read all your posts this month but am very impressed with the detail of the tips and books listed … these must have taken a lot of time, effort and research- an invaluable source of information for us all!

    Liked by 2 people

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