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

Saturday, April 03, 2004

It's a terrible, terrible thing when the great ones take a tumble. The one-time longest word in the dictionary, disenthroned for years, nurses its grudges over a bottle of ripple underneath an Oxfordshire bridge abutment accompanied by a pack of half-feral dogs and grumbling Middle English noun cases. It's a tough life, being antidisestablishmententarianism.

("Antidisestablishmententarianism" courtesy of JodyL)

Friday, April 02, 2004

The Most Ancient and Loyal Order of Beermasters takes great pride in inducting every journeyman-applicant into its ranks. You will first be quizzed on the five methods of roasting hops, the seven stages in the life of barley, the three manners of approaching a barmaid, and how best to fashion a copper stopcock whilst being assaulted with a shattered tableleg by angry drunks. This and other wisdom will be imbrued within your heart and soul until your breath smells of yeast and your urine could stone a goat.

Then you will be a true Beermaster...

("Imbrue" courtesy of StephanieB)

Thursday, April 01, 2004

In the faraway land of Uxor where the sands are pink and the skies are the perfect blue of a virgin's eyes, women choose the men they will marry. The prospective grooms race their snow-camels over the high dunes, and whoever can throw the tallest, thickest plume is chosen. Uxorious values of marriage and family would seem alien to the traveller from civilized countries, but the warmth of their hospitality cannot be denied.

("Uxorious" courtesy of AnnaH)

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Two, four, six, eight
Everybody bloviate!
Three, five, seven, nine
Let's all say what's on our minds!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

The last subatomic particle to be discovered prior to the Halvorson Event, the prolepton demonstrated some astonishing characteristics vis a vis random modifications of worldlines and violations of gross, or Einsteinian causality. In fact the proleptic lemons which were farkled upon the agha uibhkjhb kbkhkgs 7988gg889 jmkl,'....]


Monday, March 29, 2004

The littoral meaning of words washes over us like the tide, boring through the swamps of our senses, until our imaginations have been thoroughly watered.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

In the dryest deserts of distant Bessarabia, water is known as "pale gold." Even brown-water, fit only for sailing paper boats upon, is prized above all else..though not even the camels will drink it. The wily locals harvest the stuff, bottle it, and sell it in the West as an elixir of life and 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.