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

Saturday, May 03, 2003

In the Time of Kings there lived a scullery boy, who in keeping with the best traditions, was a Secret Prince. In fact, most scullery boys, stable boys and cabin boys were Secret Princes, which is why it was the Time of Kings. You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting two heirs to the throne and at least one pretender. This particularly scullery boy's name was Apraxia, because he never actually did anything but sit around and look regal, waiting to be acknowledged. Until Cook accidentally dropped a side of beef on him, and Apraxia was no more.

Friday, May 02, 2003

A small country on the coast of the Isles of Langerhans, mostly known for its exports of chitlings and head cheese. Ruled by a hereditary autarch generally referred as "Their Biliousness." Life in Gastroenteritis is characterized by frequent storms, acid rain, and serious sewage problems. All in all, not a paradise.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

The beautimous arriviste of the coloratura leavings at the behind of Sumer.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The art of reading the future in the output of the present. A fundamental art steeped in waste (not to mention waists), copromancy sometimes requires a loss of faece on the part of the practitioner.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

A head count of felons in a given jurisdiction. Also, a group of Congressmen. But I repeat myself.

Monday, April 28, 2003
Foggy Bottom Breakdown

In the hillbilly band of Colin, Donny and Dubya-Gee, they got a little number they like to play called the "Foggy Bottom Breakdown." Them CDD boys throw a little lead, throw a little weight around, and pop a Diplomacy-with-a-big-Dee cap on evildoers of all sorts, followed by sixteen bars in four-four time. Next up on the play list: "Are You Syria's?"

Sunday, April 27, 2003

A small dark fruit often imported from Guineau-Bissau, the blemish is noted for its pungent aroma and useful oil. Cold-pressed blemish oil can be used to wax down furniture, automobiles and sexual partners with equal efficacy. Sometimes simultaneously. Watch for the formation of small spots, however.

  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.