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

Saturday, January 03, 2004

The armor of my conscience comes with a spiked helm of guilt. The left glove is forgiveness, the right glove is suffering. My greaves have little brass reliefs of capering dwarves on them to remind me of how big a man really is when he becomes petty. The chestplate is lined with pig bristles. What does your conscience look like?

Friday, January 02, 2004

My fine fettle has chrome-steel trim and a hand-rubbed lacquer paint job. It slices, dices and turns Julienne into fries, poor girl. It makes coffee, wakes me up every day with a smile and a friendly bout of fellatio, rubs my back and makes sure my clothes are color-matched. It also balances checkbooks, cleans windows, rotates tires and can, if properly prepared, put a man on the moon.

How's your fettle?

Thursday, January 01, 2004

The intrasocietal machinations of the Late Chrome Period brought two factions into that rarest of states -- direct conflict. Blood ran in the tubes and wells of public access for a while, as polis and soldats hunkered in their bunkers and pretended to neutrality. The Lifics and the Contrats fought like dogs in a barrel for the space of almost six weeks, until the Prince of Roses announced himself to be Prolific. Disheartened, the Contrats retreated to the Bitter Islands and formed a literary collective which blossomed in the first years of the Blue Ages.

("Prolific" courtesy of AnnaH)

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

When the study of happiness flags, the well motivated research flaps over to the banner field of vexillology, the study of irritation. Many new questions have been raised there.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The color of one's blood indicates one's station in life. Everyone knows this, despite the fact that we all bleed red when slit open. The holy bleed a glowing silver, the wicked a dull gray. The poor bleed brown, the rich bleed blue. The foolish bleed pink, the wise bleed gold. All the melancholia of man may be read in a pinprick before the demons grab hold and stain his humors scarlet.

Monday, December 29, 2003

There are five ages of man, as everyone knows. Babies are born in their dotage, because everyone dotes on them. Children live in the message, because of the messes they make. Parents live in the manage, because that's all they ever do. Grandparents live in the age of revenge. Finally, we all move into slippage.

  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.