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

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Walloon cartoon balloon pontoon moon soon. -oon Words are inherently silly, sort of like monkeys or the French. But "poltroon" is the silliest of all, because it's a silly work about silliness. Sort of conceptual onomatopoeia. Poltroon. Y'all come back soon.

Friday, May 30, 2003

In days of old when knights were bold and maidens young and fair
A man was judged by who he was, and especially his father's lair
If it was a castle and the man rode a horse, making him a find equester
They made him a king, otherwise nothing, him they would sequester

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Room and board costs money, but if you go down to the docks and offer to work on a sailing ship, sometimes they offer you freeboard. Especially if you don't mind getting wet.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

When you hollow out an angry young man with a safety pin in his cheek, and blow in one end, a most euphonius noise emerges. See the famed Bozeman Whistlepunk Choir for an example of this.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

No matter how bad things get in the world, the inner landscape can always be worse -- a blasted heath of sorrow and despair, fundamental insecurities like gaping cracks in the earth. You grim, me grim, oh my head hurts.

Monday, May 26, 2003

France is sick of being oppressed by those American chemical monkeys with their genetic engineering and their undetectable performance enhancing drugs. This year, we shall triumph, our star shall wear the prized yellow jersey. Yes, France will win her own Tour de France with the new, le magnifique, CYCLOTRON! Take 'zat, Lance Armstrong.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.

He speaks in boustrophedon; confusing as hell since it's inadvertent.

("Boustrophedon" courtesy of me, guest Storyword courtesy of Kathy G.)

  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.