Story Words
Very short fiction, written on the fly, from words submitted by readers.
© 2002, 2003, 2004 Jay Lake

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Due to extreme performance problems with Blogger, I am moving the Story Words blog from Blogger to LiveJournal. This address will no longer host updates. Please see:

For all your Story Words needs.

Thank you!


Monday, April 04, 2005

Tired of being called an unnecessary adornment, the Finials went on strike. Fluted, flamed, foliated, they marched away from their gables, spires and pinnacles, taking lovely baroque excesses with them.

"Everything is so functional now!" the Pragmatists exclaimed.

"Everything is so boring now!" the Sensualists cried.

But Whimsey stepped in and persuaded the Finials to return, and Ornament heaved a sigh of relief that decorative extravagance was not dead yet.

(Storyword "Finial" courtesy of RuthN)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Rhododactyl aurora peeks from her mountain cradle to my east, though all I see is glowering gray streaked with silver, as if the servants of heaven have all fogged mirrors during their night's rest. Nonetheless I heed her distant bonfire and peek from my own flannel cradle, ready to face the day's march of words.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

To entabulate is to make into a table. So many things can be made into tables -- oak, plywood, cubed-up race cars, periods, periodic elements, data elements, elemental forces, forced puns, punitive damages. Everyone who loves entabulation raise their hand and be counted.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tardy is as Tardy does. We watch for Tardy, but he always comes late. As we wait, we have learned to do other things to while away the empty hours and lend meaning to our lives. But like the king, when Tardy arrives he is by definition on time. Times Tardy is his favorite newspaper, while cherry Tardies are his favorite dessert. Tardy is as Tardy does.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Plinth was a narrow-faced man with a stony heart and a short right-hand reach. He never thought much about it, growing up among the rocky hills and sour fields of his homeland. But when the Duke of Sunrise came and roused the armies, and Plinth went off to war at the point of some half-drunk serjeant's sword, his ways and means became an issue. A short-armed man does not draw a mighty bow, nor is his reach with a blade worthy of much. As result, Plinth worked horselines, manned field kitchens, dug (shallow) latrines, and generally did those things which support an army. He never did find out who won the war, just went home one morning after awakening alone in a mist surrounded by corpses. There was no one left who remembered him, but the land had changed little, and eventually he melted back into stone himself.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Up the ante. Ante Sally. Ante Dis establishment in Terranism. Antes in your panties. Antes abandoned by the Gods. Whither ante now? What price ante? Ante pro. Ante.

  I've been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and for the John W. Campbell, Jr. Award for Best New Writer!
Award info | Me

Read the Hugo-nominated story for free at

Q: What is this?
A: A fiction experiment. Every day, people email me words. At some random point in the day, I pick a word, write a quick story about it on the spot, and post it unedited (except for a quick typo patrol).

Q: What did that word mean?
A: Look it up:

Q: Can I send you a word?
A: You bet. Include a definition if the word is deeply obscure -- or not, if you prefer. Send it to

Q: I've got something to say about this.
A: Click over to the Story Words discussion topic.

Q: Who else is silly enough to do this? I think it's kind of neat.
A: David Jones, for one. Surf over there and check him out. Drop him an encouraging word, too. He's a brave man.
A: Jeremy Tolbert, for another, with his Microscopica project. Likewise show him some love.
A: Jason Erik Lundberg with his Mythologism blog.

Q: You're even cooler than KITT the Knight Rider car. Do you have a mailing list to announce your latest hijinks?
A: Of course I do. What kind of self-promoting, narcissistic writer would I be otherwise? Email me. Occasional mailings regarding stories appearing in print and online, weird stuff in general, and appearances of the Greek Chorus.