Steven Thorn is a Professional Writing Senior at the University of Oklahoma. He is a member of the Afterburners Club and has earned his CC and CL awards. In 2009, Steven finished second in the District 25 International Speech Competition. Steven has published three short stories on Kindle, Nook, and iTunes. The Phoenix Guardian, a Young Adult Fantasy, is his first novel.
As a public speaker and a writer, I find that speaking and writing have much in common. They both require courage. Most Toastmasters can understand why public speaking takes courage. Many of us are in Toastmasters to overcome our fear of public speaking.
But writing isn’t done in public. I usually write in the privacy of my home. So why is it scary?
Writing is scary because, like public speaking, it makes you vulnerable.
Before your words can mean something to someone else, they have to mean something to you. That means you have to open up. You have to share what’s important to you, and you have to hold it up to the world and declare, “This is what I have to say. This is a piece of my heart.”
But it’s also exhilarating. There’s nothing like writing something that people can relate to and enjoy.
When I competed in the 2009 International Speech Competition, my favorite moments were when I established emotional connections with the audience. My speech, “You Don’t Need to Be a Wizard,” was about overcoming fear and insecurity. I talked about the friends and family who have helped me in my struggles: people that “brought light to my darkness.” The speech was very personal. It was rewarding to see people laughing—and crying—along with me.
|Steven won the Division C International Speech Contest in 2009
with his family’s support.
In the same way, writing The Phoenix Guardian has been very rewarding. When I wrote the book, certain passages moved me to tears. Other parts of the book still make me laugh, even though I’ve read the story dozens of times. I love it when readers tell me which passages made them laugh or cry. It’s very touching to know that people have connected with my story.
The writing and publication of The Phoenix Guardian took about nine months. The majority of the writing was done last fall for my “Writing the Novel” class at the University of Oklahoma. I finished the book in the spring semester. The entire process was guided (and edited) by my writing instructor, Mel Odom, a prolific author who has written over 150 novels.
I decided to self-publish The Phoenix Guardian, adding a novel to my bookshelf of self-published works. One day, I hope to write for a traditional publishing house, but for the time being, I’m thrilled with the success that The Phoenix Guardian has received. The book has sold over 100 copies and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Writing the book took a lot of time, courage, and work, but it was worth it. I’m thankful that people are taking the time to read and share this story with me.
On the planet Mithris, humanity is at war and the gods don’t care. Serena is an eighteen year-old girl who doesn’t care about the gods—or anything else. Unfortunately for Serena, a mysterious girl named Natalie Bliss falls out of the sky and into her path. Natalie claims that Serena must help her save the world. Natalie holds the answers to Serena’s true identity—a revelation that links Serena to a world she never believed in. Terrible dangers lie in store for them. Serena and Natalie must escape from assassins, survive a world war, and convince the negligent gods of Mithris to intervene before it’s too late for mankind.
By Jodie Sanders