Crossroads / Man vs Nature / Survival of the Fittest

How I’m Doing on Survival of the Fittest — 2

crossroadsMy prehistoric fiction writing is a collection of novels organized under the title, Man vs. Nature:

Written in the spirit of Jean Auel and Kathleen Gear, Man vs. Nature follows early humans as they struggle to survive a world where Nature is King and man is prey not predator. What didn’t kill these early iterations of Man made them stronger and gave new meaning to Darwin’s definition of evolution as ‘survival of the fittest’.

The next in this collection (a hundred thousand years after Born in a Treacherous Time) is Survival of the Fittest, Book 1 in the  Crossroads trilogy. It is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man (as Homo erectus) had reached most corners of Eurasia. You’ll meet tribes from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, the Levant, and Spain. These are violent people, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threaten their survival. Except one: future man, called by some scientists Archaic Homo sapiens and destined to obliterate their earlier selves. Here’s a preview:

Xhosa, leader of the People, is driven from her African homeland by ruthless enemies that want not just her land but to destroy her. As she searches for a new home, she finds danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and others like her who have also been forced by timeless events to leave their homes and flee to unknown lands.

With a planned publication of May 2019 (Book 2, October 2019), here’s how I’m doing.

  • I did some research on trilogies (this writing form is new to me). Turns out I needed a trilogy name as well as separate names for each book–I can’t simply call them Book 1, 2, and 3! The trilogy will be named Crossroads to reflect the dispersion of early man throughout the world, converging in a migration to a new homeland. I also need a name for each of the three books. Book 1 is now named Survival of the Fittest, to reflect the treachery and challenge of surviving an unknown world. Book 2 and 3–still working on those.
  • I am wordsmithing Book 1 using Autocrit. I can’t believe how many repeated words I have! And passive voice (dang was, is, and had). And mitigation words (double dang could, should, might, and maybe).
  • I roughed out Book 2 so I know what Book 1 must accomplish. There are a lot of loose ends still to be tied up in Book 3. So far, I have a two-sentence idea on that one.
  • I started a digital note section in Google Keep to collect my thoughts for Book 2 and another for Book 3. I find that even as I’m doing something entirely unrelated, an idea pops into my head about one of my fictional works. Do you do that?
  • I am reaching out proactively to historical fiction bloggers but not having much success. Anyone have suggestions?
  • Here’s a map of the (Hero’s) journey in Crossroads trilogy. The characters come together from disparate parts of the globe and end up finally in what will be Gran Dolina, Spain.

man 's journey out of africa

Question for y’all: My collection of prehistoric fiction deals with different eras (hundreds of thousands of years apart), different characters, but the same theme of man vs. nature–how we survived in a violent world that should have destroyed us. I discussed calling it a series, filled with trilogies. I thought I’d settled on ‘collection’ (not great but adequate). But I wonder if Universe is a better term.

The Man vs. Nature Universe.

Like Marvel comics universe. I also noticed that Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch fiction is organized as the Harry Bosch Universe, to account for all the venues this fictional character appears (like his novels and Amazon Prime’s video series–which I love). I’m thinking of using ‘universe’ for my Man vs. Nature books–all my stories about prehistoric man–instead of the term ‘collection’. Say, Any thoughts on that?

Click to be notified when Survival of the Fittest, Book 1 in the Crossroads trilogy is available.

More on Crossroads

How I’m Doing on Crossroads–I

Series or Not a Series–How do You know?


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 Born in a Treacherous Timefirst in the Man vs. Nature collection. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today and TeachHUBmonthly 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. Look for her upcoming trilogy, Crossroads, eta Spring 2019.

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70 thoughts on “How I’m Doing on Survival of the Fittest — 2

  1. Pingback: How I’m Doing on Survival of the Fittest — 4 | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: How I’m Doing on Survival of the Fittest — 3 | WordDreams...

  3. I love the umbrella of universe, that would work really well I think. This makes it clear they are all interlinked without having too many restrictions on time/place/character. I love how you approach your projects and enjoy learning about your process.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacqui, you are doing brilliantly!! 😀 Your organisation is reaping the benefits and I am impressed as always by the tech help. I remember you mentioning Autocrit before and so happy it is working well for you. I had to laugh how you can move 100,000 years in the future and still be so far back in time. As to the terms – I think collection does not work in this case. I associate that with short stories and poetry. Happy Writing … your passion and joy for the craft shines out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your input on ‘collection’. I hadn’t thought of it as stories but you have a lot of company in these comments. Clearly, that would be a mistake! I’m pretty decided on ‘universe’ or ‘saga’ (someone suggested that–I like it).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m pleased to know you’re making so much progress on your new book and that you’ve figured out the binding thread of the series. You know this is my kind of story and I look forward to your next books.

    You asked about reaching out to historical fiction bloggers. I have no success in this field at all, but I’ve noticed that the “bigger” a blogger is, the less responsive they are to replying to individual commenters. Don’t know if that gives you some insight, and of course, I don’t know who specifically you’re trying to contact. I find lots of useful info on author websites, when they publish them. Maybe that would be helpful to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jacqui – well you are moving forward … I like Andrew’s idea of ‘Survival’ … and I’m sure you’ll decide the ‘titles’ with the best ring to them … you could use Series, or Saga – I’m sure neither of them fit … but an extra thought … good for you and good luck as you continue on … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I do like Universe and the idea of including “survival” in all the titles. I’m not sure about historical bloggers in specific. I know some writers of historical fiction who have historical-themed blogs but cannot think of any who have written on that particular period. I’ll keep thinking.
    I keep reading great things about the first book and I am sure you will do great. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jacqui,

    You’re definitely giving your series great thought and posing some excellent questions to your readers for help. Whichever way you go, I know it’s going to be down a road of discovery and reshaping. There’s nothing like growing as you learn, eh? Best of luck to you always, my friend. I think you’re gonna have a bright literary future!:)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If I couldn’t call Crossroads Books 1,2, & 3, I think I would simply call them right, left and straight ahead. You have such energy to be writing and publishing nonstop. More power to you. I barely squeeze in my weekly blog with all my music rehearsals. Best of luck with your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh! I definitely like the idea of calling it a Universe! Much better than Collection to be honest which sounds just like short stories or children´s books. Also like “Survival of the Fittest” as a title but I love Darwin so I might be biased. 😉 Don´t know any historical fiction bloggers – sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I like ‘universe’ too; ‘collection’ makes it sound like a bunch of short stories.
    I get random thoughts on all sorts of stages of books I’m working on, and I’ve learned to take notes as soon as I can (on paper, or audio, if I have my Dictaphone handy) when I’m out and about, and then transfer them to the appropriate file when I get home. I keep different files in Word for all my current and future projects, backed up using a cloud subscription service so they should be safe!

    Liked by 1 person

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