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

Saturday, August 14, 2004

"Splay ball!"

And the batter did, though the core unravelled over half a thousand fans who fell through the resulting interdimensional collapse.

Damn, it can be hard attending quantum sporting events.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Time thins like a branch, a river running in reverse, from the massive estuary to the etoliated streams of the ultramontane. We live our lives that way, moving from a mass of undifferentiated potential to a set of precise choices and the consequences thereof. What if we could run either way? What if time were a tram rather than a slide? What if we all ran upstream, salmon instead of duckweed?

Thursday, August 12, 2004

This here confabulation has gone far enough. I reckon it's time for you to commence to quitting on your jawing and get back to work. Ain't nobody needs so damned many words nohow. Ain't nobody goin' to read somethig with so damned many letters in it. Why can't you leave out some of them adj-ee-tives, boy? Sheesh. Give some people the gift of speech, and how do they repay you? Confabulation. Hey, Gabriel, get over here and close this damned gate!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

This is the senescene of the world: A great red sun which fills half the sky, never setting. Pillars of salt in the shape of screaming men, their eyes still wet with tears. Crabs on a beach, consuming one another in a dead-end ecology. Three angels dying on a crag, arguing how many Gods can dance on the point of a pin. A tired child trudging through the surf, searching for her mother. A dry wind carrying ancient songs to the death of heat.

(Word "Senescence" courtesy of JulieN)

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The sergeant was dispatched with Expediency. Expediency didn't really want to do the job, quick as it was, but swords don't get to vote. Two and a half kilos of metalloceramic without arms or legs pretty much has to do what its told. Weapons have strange egos anyway. Sometimes late at night the sword and I argue about ethics, morals, tactics and women. Expediency has a sort of direct, cutting perspective on life -- pretty much what you'd expect from something of its ilk.

But when it comes to chopping off heads chop-chop, there's no chopper like Expediency.

(Word "Expediency" courtesy of DianaS)

Monday, August 09, 2004

"Mathom, I'm Athom."

"Quite a lisp you have there, big boy."

"Lisp? Who you calling lisp?"

"Oh, pardon me. My mistake."

"I'll say, you useless old heap."


"Thtick it, baby."

("Mathom" courtesy of JannaS)

Sunday, August 08, 2004

The Estuarine Corps are among the most feared fighters in the Bottleglass Emperor's forces. They storm rivers and sloughs with the fearless abandon of moles in a cornfield, wielding their undine-wrought knives like ergot-maddened badgers. Their infamous war whoops can be heard for stades inland, and the very appearance of their kelp-woven hair has been known to set old men to fainting and young ones to flying from sheer terror.

Caution is advised near beaches and rivermouths.

  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.