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

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Part of stoch and barelle, a trio of ancient imprecations often scattered by weaponsmakers of old. Eventually applied to portions of firearms in an emblematic case of perjorative labelling. Of course, I may be all wet.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Calluope, calliope, me-oh me-oh my-oh pee
How how your sound
How loud your steam
When you cry-oh cry to me

Thursday, May 22, 2003

One development in Renaissance music was the arrival of larger instruments, made possible by advances in wood working, metallurgy and assembly techniques. Thus the pianoforte was developed, and the cello. Now forgotten was the grandiloquent, or "giant speaker," an enormous assemblage of bellows and horn designed to make the human voice so much bigger than it ever had been before. Sadly, this noble instrument has gone the way of the sackbut, and we are now content to listen to Celine Dion.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Once upon a time rabbis were carved from stone and clay by other rabbis. Using the Torah and Kabbalah, a rabbi would work for a decade or more anointing his successor. This task was onerous and difficult, and kept the rabbis away from the faithful whom G-d had charged them with serving. Finally, the great Reb Scholasticus began the difficult process of developing rabbinical schools. His first step was a school for little children with great spirit in the hearts, Eleemosynary School. Usually attended for free, as these schools were supported by charity in their good works.

("Eleemosynary" courtesy of Julia on the Story Words discussion board.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

During wartime, and at prep school, saltpeter is slipped into the food to keep the baser instincts of the boys and men in check. Can't have healthy sexual thoughts while engaging in bloody killing or educational repression. Less well known is what happens on Spring Break or during R&R to the rear areas -- the antidote to saltpeter! Saltpeter makes you lust less, try some lustmord! Who needs Viagra?

("Lustmord" courtesy of Lorraine Z.)

  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.