APRIL 2022 Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”


Meeting Announcement:   Our next meeting will be on April 23, 2022 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (CT) on Zoom, hosted by the Fort Davis Library.  Please watch your email for invite to this meeting.  All due paying members will receive the invitation.

Visitors ALWAYS Welcome!

TMTW Steering Committee

Steering Committee: Gay Ann Kiser, Jerri Garza, Marti Stebbins and Rachel Barrett.  


 FEATURED WRITER: If you would like to have your writing featured in the newsletter, please submit to Robbie Burns dbburns51@hotmail.com. Your writing should be no more than 500 words. Please use Featured Writer in the Subject Line. 

Writer Tools:

Pantser or Plotter . . .

The writing workshops I’ve attended introduced me to two terms which I became extraordinarily familiar with: pantser or plotter. Although these words define themselves, (a pantser being a writer with no plan who flies by the seat of his/her pants; a plotter who plots the storyline) I not only learned about which process made my own writing much better, but I came to learn that many writers sometimes shift back and forth between these two processes.

In all honesty, there’s a bit of romanticism in just plopping onto a chair at your computer and writing up a storm with little thought to organizing it. And, to some degree, there are authors that can pull this off. Their rough drafts look like mine do on my third edit. Having said that, these are sometimes the same people whose critique groups send them back to the drawing board to clear things up.

As you might have guessed, I’m one who plots my entire story before I write the first word of my fictional book. Here’s what my process looks like:

Before you get completely nauseous from trying to read this, let me give you a brief synopsis of what I’m doing, here.

Post a sticky note about two main characters who are at odds with each other: Jot down their goal or goals, motivation (what keeps them focused on reaching those goals), and what type of conflict they run into. I promise you this will keep you focused. This is at the top of the storyboard marked: G, M, C.

In the middle portion is what looks like a calendar. It gives you, the writer a sense of how your story flows. It only goes up to #20, but you can add more on a slip of paper. #1 on your calendar needs to quickly introduce the characters in such a way readers get a real sense of who they are. Also, a few brief details of your setting will be here because you want to get your reader grounded regarding characters and location;

In chapter 3 (#3 on the storyboard) something exciting should happen that shifts the story a little. If you’re one who submits to publishing houses, that third chapter is significant;

Chapter 5, 10, and 15 generally have huge turning points in your work. I’m not saying something horrible or drastic must happen physically to your character. It can be as simple as someone discovering that their child has been skipping school, their spouse has been having an affair, or something that has the potential to change their outlook on life. Plotting these turning points prevents you from having that ‘sagging middle’ that afflicts many authors;

Chapter 20 is generally ‘the black moment.’ This is when the ‘you know what’ hits the fan! It occurs just before the characters are finally able to achieve their goals. What immediately follows this is resolution.

Thanks for allowing me to share what works well for me. I would love for you to sign up for my newsletter which comes out once a month. In my newsletter, I share very little about my writing, but a good deal about my life with two donkeys and a goat! Oh, and my husband of 48 years, Jim! (www.tessagray.com)

Submitted by Gay Ann Kiser

BRAGGIN’ WRITES: None reported this month.

    Join or Renew Your TMTW Membership

Membership in the Texas Mountain Trail Writers can help you grow as a writer, whether you write purely for fun or for a living. AND we accept dues payments online at our website! For more information, click here.

Final Note from the Editor:

Have news? Toot your horn, clang your bell, raise your roof! Tell us your news and stories – or writing news in general, such as publications you would recommend, contests, book events, etc. Send your Braggin’ Writes and Trail Bits to .












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