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

Saturday, November 22, 2003

The babboo is a sweet flower consumed as an aphrodisiac in tea and as candied petals by the Montagnards of western Scotland. This little known tribe inhabits the endless violet vistas that await the delighted visitor to those strange realms, and the babboo opens those vistas to new, uh, strange realms.

Friday, November 21, 2003

We keep Parse in Fronds, where they eat skinny bread and smoke skinnier cigarettes, on account of if we had it here the girls would distract us from our sentences.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

The majescule rises above the waves like a lost empire surfacing once more to the sun's brilliant regard. The spines of its back may well be cities, inhabited by worms and shellfish, or perhaps tiny intelligent mites building civilizations based on the higher ethics of parasitism. Its great eyes, each one larger than an ordinary harbor, gleam with the depths of family secrets, flecked with gold enough to send a man screaming for his shovel and his private obsessions both. It wallows for a moment, swamps entire coastlines with a flick of its tail, then the majescule is gone again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

When the feeble untie to provision hypocrisy in alto lands, to weather we shill stunt as once.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The good ship Fellatrix used the new chrome hitch drive to suck all the energy out of the local strings in the course of making its way across the western spiral arm towards bold and brave new worlds. It was of course an inversion of all the previous long held, hard-to-dispel Freudian stereotypes about ships of both space and water. Rather than plunging through space, Fellatrix opened wide to take space within it, which gave the crew an entirely different perspective on life. Testosterone levels were much reduced among the male members, while the female members generally found the whole thing silly.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Gimpy is the man who's lost his leg in love
Gimpy is the stand he takes against God above
Gimpy is the way he gives the Lord a shove
Gimpy is the step he takes away from love

Sunday, November 16, 2003

They're little things who like to nibble at the edges of your life, so that the thin ravels which trail behind you can be caught on thorn bushes or the sharp blades of love.

  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.