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

Friday, April 16, 2004

The tuberous is the rarest flower of all, fed only by machine oil and rat droppings, growing in subway tunnels, glowing with the light of a dozen loving hearts, holding court over thousands of silent minions bowing in a state of eternal, pale grace.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

When the plinth of dawkneth firtht came to me, he wath tho much taller and thtonier than even the fierthetht carven pillar of old. Tho naturally I bowed down a worthipped him. Becauthe I'd alwayth known that thomeday my plinth would come.

("Plinth" courtesy of Q)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The phorae were the household gods of old Brooklyn. Every Thursday the Italian serving girls would carry the cement-cinder idols out onto the lawns of the stately homes of New York's elite to perform the ceremonial wash with egg whites and beer. Certain unbelievers would throw sausages and make catcalls from the safety of the streets -- a practice which became known as aphorism. The term is still in use for pithy or proverbial sayings, being a misapplication from the original religious significance during the Refrigerator Wars.

("Aphorism" courtesy of AnnaH)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Whee shall be unjoing you to eructate from pesting to our lost saver any further. Your fur bearance is depreciated. Thunk you. That is wall.

("Unjoining" courtesy of AnnaH)

Monday, April 12, 2004

Maudlin always wore a ragged cloak which hung so that her face was forever shadowed. Her boots were thin strips of leather chewed to softness then sewn with gryphon gut. She carried a sword which she never drew and a book which she never placed aside. Her battles were in the hearts of others, her weapons tears and pride and simple nostalgia which could be stained with ruinous envy like a poisoned well. Kings and generals feared her, while beggar girls carried her train.

("Maudlin" courtesy of TomE)

Admin Note

My apologies for the brief lapse in Story Words. This past weekend I was nominated for the John W. Campbell, Jr. Award for Best New Writer, while my story "Into the Gardens of Sweet Night" was nominated for the Hugo award in the Best Novelette category. This distracted me somewhat. More details at my Web site,

  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.