Meet Stephen Lomer.
Stephen Lomer has been writing books, novellas, short stories, and scripts for nearly a decade, and one or two of them are actually pretty good. A grammar nerd, Star Trek fan, and other things that chicks dig, Stephen is the creator, owner, and a regular contributor to the website Television Woodshed. He’s a hardcore fan of the Houston Texans, despite living in the Hub of the Universe his whole life, and believes Mark Twain was correct about pretty much everything.
Stephen lives on Boston’s North Shore with his wife, Teresa. Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All is his first published work.
The Influences of Everyday Life When Writing Fiction
As a writer, no matter where I go, no matter what I do, I’m always picking up little bits and pieces of life and seeing if they fit into a current writing project, or if they might be useful for something down the line. Sometimes I do it consciously, but most of the time I’m not even aware of it.
The ones that have no value are sorted right onto the junk pile and eventually forgotten. But the good ones are caught in the creative sieve and examined carefully, like a prospector checking big hunks of rock that just might be gold after all.
The really remarkable thing is that the good bits can stay stuck in there for years and then suddenly resurface to be examined again. Because things that don’t necessarily fit a current story or the next story might be just the thing for a story 10 years from now.
I’ll give you a prime example. Just before the holidays last year, I found myself at the Burger King drive-thru. (Please don’t judge me.) I placed my order and drove up to the window. There was a young woman working there, who told me the total and took my debit card. In the moment before she handed it back to me, when you might expect to hear “Do you want ketchup?” or some other food-related question, she piped up with a sudden, “So. Are you all set for the holidays?”
I was so taken aback that I wasn’t even certain how to answer such a simple question. I eventually found my voice and told her that yes, I was ready for the holidays. We finished our transaction and I drove away, but that moment stuck with me.
As I rolled it over in my mind, a similar memory came floating to the surface. It was of an encounter at a Wendy’s drive-thru some 15 years prior, when I had unexpectedly befriended a young man of special needs who delighted in my frequent visits and had taken to calling me “boss.” One day that young man saw me roll up to his window and gave me the “hang on a second” finger and dug into his nearby backpack. He pulled out a small box, opened it, and asked my opinion on the engagement ring he’d bought his girlfriend.
It was actually a very sweet moment, but as I relived the memory and pondered how I could work it into a piece of quality fiction, I suddenly thought, What if it hadn’t been a ring? What if it had been a gun?
The story bloomed from there, and became my award-winning short story, My Friend Trevor. Okay, it hasn’t actually won any awards. But it should. To be honest, it’s not even finished yet.
The point is that you never know what little pieces or moments from your day-to-day life will be prime fodder for your fiction, or even what pieces or moments will trigger memories of things that you’d believed long forgotten that will work even better.
So make sure you’re out there, observing, interacting, even hitting the drive-thru every now and then. Anything can happen, and it could make a really good story.
Check out the blurb below on Lomer’s latest publication.
Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All is a collection of short stories that has a little something for everyone. See what life is like for the poor mother of an insufferable perfectionist in the title story. Find out what’s to be done to save the hipsters in “So Ten Minutes Ago.” Enjoy an updated take on the Goldilocks story in “Trouble Bruin.” Ponder how our choices define our lives in “The Haunting of Flattop Harris.” Stand in the shoes of a young nurse trying to save the tiniest of lives from a city’s destruction in “Wallflower and Casanova.” PLUS! “Royally Screwed,” the story that serves as a prequel to the upcoming novel Typo Squad.