Dawn of Humanity / Laws of Nature

How I’m Doing on Laws of Nature 3

With all the COVID lockdowns, I’ve had a lot of time to work on my writing. I’m thankful that this story inspired me because I fear I would be pretty bored otherwise.

Tagline and summary

The tagline for Laws of Nature might be:

A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help. Can they save Lucy’s tribe?

…and a quick summary:

Lucy and her band of early humans struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens their world. Only by changing can they survive.

Did you ever wonder how earliest man thrived in a world where creatures like sabertooth tiger were king, without clothing, fire, or shelter for protection? Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

Here’s what I have done the past month:

  • I wrote Dawn of Humanity’s Book 2 (Laws of Nature) in a spreadsheet and this month, converted it to Word, ready for more serious editing. Here’s how that’s done:
    • the original spreadsheet-formatted story (see how easy it is to fine the goal of a scene, the POV character, and more):

    • I copy-pasted it from Excel to Word:

    • I converted the table to text with the handy toolbar tool:

    • Then, I cleaned up all the unnecessary words (from the columns–about characters, settings, etc.) and it comes out like a normal Word doc:
  • I first did a Ctrl+F to find each time I used the word ‘motion’ (why did I start there? Because it annoyed me more than anything else!). My characters use body language rather than words to communicate and often it’s hands. So I say ‘motion’ way too often. I used Kathy Steinemann’s The Writer’s Body Lexicon (click for my review) to find other ways to describe how body parts communicate emotions, attitudes, and ideas.
    • Here’s the ‘fingers’ entry–what people do with their fingers when they’re angry, anxious, bored, afraid, and more:

    • This one is ‘hands’–what people do with their hands when they’re anguished, concentrating, confident, and more:

  • That done, I started editing. I rewrote the first five paragraphs, over and over, and still don’t like it. Sigh. But I moved on. I’ll get back to it.
  • I got tired of paying for so many features I didn’t use in MailChimp so am switching some of my newsletters (including this one) to AWeber. That’s a lot harder than it sounds. If you don’t get a newsletter, that’s why.
  • I want to make a trailer for the trilogy, Dawn of Humanity, and the book, Laws of Nature. I need epochal music and think I found it. We’ll see.
  • This was NaNoWriMo month and I’ll report on how I did later this week.
  • A setback for my writing but a big win for my reading: Penguin Group Putnam approved me for any of their books I’d like to read from NetGalley. That means I don’t require approval of a title. I simply download it. I’m in heaven! So far, I’ve grabbed:
    • the latest C.J. Box Joe Puckett
    • the latest Tom Clancy John Ryan
    • the latest Leo Mahoney
    • the latest Clive Cussler Kurt Austin

I’m not sure why Putnam set me for auto-approval but I did make a change in my reviews that might have inspired them: With each review, besides adding tags like #amreading or #thrillerreviews, I notify the publisher via their Twitter or FB handle (for example, @putnam). Maybe they noticed my reviews of their books.

How are you doing on your latest WIP? I’d love to hear!

More on Dawn of Humanity

Born in a Treacherous Time Receives an Award

Prehistoric Fiction Authors: Great Books For You

Will my new book be a bang or a whimper?


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 Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. 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 NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Fall 2021. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

90 thoughts on “How I’m Doing on Laws of Nature 3

  1. Pingback: How I’m Doing on Laws of Nature 7 | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: I’m traveling–How I’m Doing on LoN #5 | WordDreams...

  3. Hi Jacqui – well I’m a month late – but I know if I ever want to write a novel – I’ll be moving to CA, renting somewhere to live nearby – and tapping in to your knowledge … and will definitely be arriving back here much better informed technically … brilliant that you’ve mastered so much … let alone writing the excellent books – congratulations … Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Do you write the actual paragraphs and dialogue, and the entire chapter in the spreadsheet, Jacqui! I saw that you copy the spreadsheet to Word. And you convert the Word to text? I have to look closely and try that step. I think the spreadsheet is great. Sometimes when I write a phrase, it sounds like I used it before but couldn’t find where. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You’ve been busy, Jacqui. Probably a good thing during Covid. I’m intrigued with how you create your books, starting with a spreadsheet and then copying everything into a normal manuscript in Word. Clever, as you start with the essentials. Plus, you make it look so easy and efficient. It almost makes me want to write fiction! 🙂 The lexicon of Kathy Steinemann sure comes in handy, especially for your kind of non-verbal stories. With tbis process you’re inspiring me to write again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d say you’re doing pretty amazing! And I love how you use post-its to bookmark pages in writing resource books like I do, lol. That’s what I use all over my rough drafts too. Best invention! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jacqui, the taglines and summaries are compelling – they show enough of the bones that I get the gist of the book but don’t make me feel like I just read the book. These are the stories I like to read. Looking forward to your next books. Very interesting insight into the review process, especially that which gets noticed by publishers. Your experience is showing – also your skill. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, you’ve been productive I didn’t know about converting a table into text. Interesting, and yes, I use the Body Lexicon too. I really enjoy editing manuscripts, although it takes a long time for me to go through a book enough times to get it polished to my satisfaction.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Incredible progress, Jacqui! For my fitness book, sadly I’ve let the very excuses I discuss slow me down. I’ve done some editing and hope to get re-energized in 2021 once we move north. Between closed gyms due to Covid, heat and smoke all summer, packing, and oh yeah, joining the Covid club, normal physical activity was intermittent. Hard to motivate others when I was not. I might add a pandemic clause into the book, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I respect your commitment to your craft, Jacqui. These posts that show a writer’s process are fascinating. I didn’t know about Kathy Steinemann until a couple of months ago, but I’m sure glad somebody steered the ship in her direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m impressed with your spreadsheets – I still use bits of paper and sticky notes, and I don’t see that changing!
    I’ve been writing in sprints, but after the first lockdown I went back to work, so it’s back to fitting writing around that. Book #4 in the Five Kingdoms now stands at 25K words (about a fifth done, or maybe a bit less) but plenty of plot coming together on my long drives to work.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t wait to read more of Lucy’s story. She kicked it all off for me, Jacqui. Congrats on getting so much done. It’s been a strange year to write – we have the time, but for many, it has been difficult to get the mojo working. And have fun reading! You have some great books from NetGalley to get you through the holidays. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Hi Jacqui – amazing what you’re achieving with Footsteps with Giants … I’m coming back to look at the post and content more closely – to try to understand a bit more … but I know you’re hugely organised. Fascinating about the Putnam read … I need to look into this a bit more too – but it’s obviously very satisfying for you … so pleased. Take care and all the best as you progress … Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I like how you use a spreadsheet to write. I now have a big white board in my office where I write sermons–and often storyboard them there. You mention sounds intriguing.

    As for COVID, the spring seemed to be easier for me, but since then, not… Some of that is moving 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow. This is very inspirational, Jacqui. I’ve never thought of using Excel, and I suspect it wouldn’t suit my approach, but it’s so useful to know what’s possible. Who knows, perhaps I’ll experiment. Good luck with all of your projects. Sounds like you’ll have a busy December, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m impressed at how much you’ve done and how organized you are. I’m more of a note taker at the top of the story. Congrats on auto downloads for reading. I look forward to your reviews:)

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I’m in the query trenches, and am plotting my next wip, although I am in silly season, so probably won’t start writing until everything stops for the year. Congrats on your NetGalley news – that is fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

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