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

Saturday, July 05, 2003
Frictional Delusions

The sense of burning is inescapable, even within the confines of one lone mind. Though you hold tight to the tatters of your dignity and purpose, sparks fly from the walls of your mental hull. It is heat, not pain, this frictional delusion, this fictional conclusion, this finial contusion, this final confusion.

Then you are free.

Thursday, July 03, 2003
Clarion Call

The sound of an awakening writer, or a workshop under threat; blown by the golden trumpet of inspiration, or the tin kazoo of budget; meant to stir the heart.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Melanogaster was the last of the Biscay Kings, a dreaded band of pirates who terrorized European shipping on the Atlantic for almost two centuries. In 1874 his flagship Fruit was engaged by the HMS Drosophilia, and in a running battle that lasted for almost seven generations, finally sunk among a flurry of brightly colored eyes and mutated wings.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

In a literary desert, a man with one point of style can be a prince. There art very few writers with more style than our good Italianate friendt, Umberto Ecto, so I proposit that allt writers become ectomorphs.

We won't fit into elevators as welt together, but we'd be styling.

("Ectomorph" suggested by TimP)

Monday, June 30, 2003

When we study, we become, if not smart, better-informed. When we learn, we become, if not smart, better-spoken. When we remember, we become, if not smart, wiser. Erudition? ErIdition? Erwealldition?

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Lime is the stuff of nature, the very bones of life, laid down by little creatures who swam and died three hundred million years before your daddy whiffed your mama's pheromones. It's also a sweet-and-sour little green fruit like a lemon but better. It's also dusty, hot and dry, riven with crusted concrete. Not unlike life itself. In fact, lime is life with an m.

  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.