My prehistoric fiction is the story of survival, endurance, and tenacity in the face of unconquerable odds. It is a group of trilogies that address seminal times in man’s evolution–when we first arrived (Dawn of Humanity trilogy), when we became dominant (Crossroads trilogy), and when we became really smart (not yet started). It is called Man vs. Nature:
Written in the spirit of Jean Auel and Kathleen Gear, the Man vs. Nature saga follows early humans as they struggle to survive a world where Nature is King and man is prey. What didn’t kill them made them stronger.
The next in this saga (a hundred thousand years after Born in a Treacherous Time) is Survival of the Fittest, Book 1 in the Crossroads trilogy:
Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving a fulfilling life in her African homeland in search of the future. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands following the escape path laid out a decade before by her father as a final desperate move. She is joined by other homeless tribes–from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant—all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her enemy doesn’t want her People’s land. He wants to destroy her.
The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate those who came before.
This is a Hero’s Journey. Early man is the Hero and survival — or extinction — is the journey. My hero–as befits a thriller–is bigger-than-life and regularly does the impossible. Which is good because the future of mankind is at stake.
With a planned publication of May 2019 (Book 2, October 2019), here’s how I’m doing.
- I just finished wordsmithing. I enjoy this part of editing, finding parts where I repeat the same word, evaluating what I’m really trying to say and if I can provide new information rather than repeat the old. Which I always can. It is a slow process of perfecting tiny portions–a few sentences or paragraphs. This sort of editing works well for me and I’m pretty happy with the outcome.
- To had and not to had. That’s a good question. When is ‘had’ a good idea and when does it suck the energy from a story? In my case, I had 582 ‘hads’. It took a long time to chip the extraneous ones away.
- By the time you read this, I’ll be started on the full-book final edit.
- I continue to work on the book blurbs. I hate hyperbole but when writing these, hyperbole is my friend. Sigh.
- Because covers can take so long, I took time out to gather my thinking about the cover for Survival of the Fittest and then put my order in with Damonza. That was more difficult than it should have been.
- I am trying to come up with a tagline for my book. That too is more difficult than it should be. Here’s what I’ve come up with and I have a question for all of you:
Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across two continents that could end in death or a new home.
Question: The time of this story is before we realized continents existed. Does that matter when writing my tagline?
Another question: Taglines seem optional on book covers. What do you think? Do you use them?
- Here’s a map of the (Hero’s) journey in the Crossroads trilogy. The characters come together from disparate parts of the globe and end up finally in what will be Gran Dolina, Spain.
- I think I have a title for the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga of which Born in a Treacherous Time is Book 1: Dawn of Humanity, to reflect Lucy (the main character) and her kind being the first of man’s species. More on that later.
Last month, I asked y’all whether ‘collection’ or ‘Universe’ best-described this wide-ranging saga of early man. While many liked ‘universe’, a few suggested ‘saga’. When I researched that sort of writing, I agreed with you. Plus, it sounds right. So ‘saga’ it is:
The Man vs. Nature Saga.
I so appreciate all of you who provided thoughtful opinions. It helped me arrive at a decision.
BTW, here’s a picture of my workspace, with annotations:
More on Survival of the Fittest
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 Time, first in the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Survival of the Fittest, Spring 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning