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

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Rhododactyl aurora, showing us for what we are, bright rays invading the darkness with a pale pink luminance which will erupt to flash across the vaults of heaven and earth alike.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Courage is not armor. It is not daring. It is not towering fearlessness. It is doing what one needs, or badly wants, to do, in the face of doubt. Nothing more.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

In Abeyance, the women live remotely and send letters to the men via trained apes wearing brass helmets. In Abeyance, all men go armed with glaives, and arguments are settled with a maximum of bloodshed. In Abeyance, laws are written in an unknown tongue so they cannot be read again, and only the imperfect memory of clerks prevents chaos. In Abeyance, all things are awaited and few things are attained, yet everyone's life goes on the same.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

They call it a stroke when it's really a stop. No oars here, but a wall which can cripple a brain or end a life. To stroke is to advance, but to have a stroke...words never come again. The greatest tragedy of all.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The world is metastable, ever ready to change phase or state to something brighter or bleaker. Mountains quiver, oceans grind to a solid halt, and the very stars in the sky invert themselves to wells of shadow. All waits.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Ashen gray and ashen black, the plains are dark and quiet. Mountain's fallen silent. Fire no longer flows. Not even crickets chirp now, under the blanket of dark silence, but rains will return and ashes feed soil, soil feeds forests, and forests clothe mountains.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

In a city there is a hill. On that hill there is a garden. In that garden there is a cherry tree. Beneath that cherry tree there is a woman. She waits for something, she's not sure what anymore. Only the wind carries words to her.

  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.