Payson High students celebrate success with publication of stories

Two Payson High School students are riding high after having their stories published in Utah Valley Magazine publications.

Senior’s Daxon Geldmacher and Melissa Ward each submitted short stories for the chance to have their work read by the masses.

And according to them both, writing is a way to express themselves, and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

According to Daxon, he was encouraged by his English teacher to submit a story as part of a Sterling Scholar application. Daxton said he didn’t want to apply for sterling scholar but was keen on the idea of writing a story.

“I’ve been writing for a while,” Daxon said. “When my teacher encouraged me to enter my story to help with a sterling scholar application, I decided to write the story, but not apply for sterling scholar.

“The story I wrote is called, ‘Beneath the Church,’ and is a gothic horror story about a guy who goes to a church to summon a spirit. It’s sort of a comedy of errors, in a horror sort of way.”

Daxon said he loves the writing process and hopes to continue writing after he graduates.

“My favorite part of the writing process is when I’m finished and I end with something that wasn’t there before,” he said. “Just knowing that I created something is really cool. My ultimate goal is to have people pay me to write. It would be so awesome to turn in words for money. I’ll be going to UVU to study digital cinema, and I would really like to be a screenwriter for movies.”

Daxon’s story was submitted to Utah Valley Magazine’s “Warp and Weave,” which is UVU’s premier publication for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative fiction.

The magazine publishes comics, plays, artwork, photography, poetry and short stories, and is a student publication sponsored by the English and Literature Department.

Melissa’s fictional short story, “Trouble with Felons,” was published in Utah Valley University’s “Write Outside Yourself” magazine earlier this year.

According to Melissa, she heard about this chance to be published by her teacher, Mrs. Parker.

“During the second term of my junior year, I was talking to my English and reading teacher, Mrs. Parker,” Melissa said. “She told me about a short story contest done by UVU and practically gave me no choice but to submit. So, I wracked my brain for weeks and finally got an idea I liked.”

Melissa’s story is an action-packed science fiction story that she says is only part of the story.

“My short story submission is actually only the first chapter of a novel I hope to finish and publish one day, but my current priority is school, music, and a joint-authored trilogy I have been writing with my friend Adriana Birchett since the eighth grade,” she said.

Melissa said she was surprised to find that her submission was chosen for the publication.

“Since the submission was such a spur-of-the-moment decision, I honestly didn’t expect anything to come of it, despite being pretty proud of my work,” she said.

“So, when I got the news that I had been selected for publication, I was beyond shocked and flattered. The ‘Write Outside Yourself’ team was wonderful to work with and simulated a commercial publishing experience to help me take my work to the next level.

“My favorite part about writing is surprising myself. You would think your own characters would be predictable to you, seeing as how they live in your head, but I constantly find myself being surprised by the decisions, emotions, and growth of my characters as I create a work of literature. Sometimes that character is myself, and I learn new things about my subconscious by transferring my thoughts to paper. The opportunities are endless.”

Utah Valley Magazine has several publications ran by its English department that it says, “exist primarily to provide student authors and artists the opportunity to showcase their own work and to provide student editors valuable pre-professional experience in the area of small-press publishing.”

To know more about how to have work published, contact UVU’s English department. (Brown is a Serve Daily contributor.)

Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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