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

Saturday, January 22, 2005
Some rifts are vast as canyons, the distances involved so great as to make voices unheard and unhearable, reduce the broadest gestures to invisibility, divide two people with territories and borders, oceans and continents. Others, and these are more to be feared, are no wider than the space between two bodies in a bed.
Guest Editor BMcK

Friday, January 21, 2005
Theo had always been a booklover, but he was unprepared for the saucy way this particular copy of Lady Barbara eyed him from the top shelf of "Literature A-C," dropping its delicate pink dustjacket innocently off one creamy white shoulder. Trembling slightly, he plucked it from between Emma and Mansfield Park and hurried to the cashier. Declining a bag, he tucked the slender volume inside his jacket and took it home to bed.
Guest Editor BMcK

Thursday, January 20, 2005

When the ell comes calling, the people flee, rats before a flooding sewer. The ell is mighty and morose, risible and rough, awesome and awful. The ell gobbles children and spits out bones. The ell turns seas into dark wine. The ell makes rain rise up from the earth to drain into the pregnant clouds. The ell knows all things and reveals none.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

My keyboard grew a new key last night. Or perhaps someone broke into my hotel room and performed arcane electronic surgery. There's now a "Deleterious" key. It goes well with the "Perjorative" key that appeared a while back. The QWERTY bits are getting a little crowded, but now when I write email, things are so much easier. If only I had a "Salubrious" key...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Little Tittle went to school to learn how to spell. When he was there he sat in his chair so very very well that the teacher did spy a friendy I and sent it to Tittle to play which is how we have the i we have with Tittle himself today.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Aviation, to fly like a bird. I spread my aluminum wings, open my flaps, spool up my jets, and emulate the high-flying goose, the soaring hawk, as I leap eastward across the rumpled lands towards corn, snow and employment.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I dint do it. I dinted my car. Dinty Moore beef stew. When the presidint of the immortals has had his sport. Dintyne whitens the breath and brightens the teeth. Pepsodint, tridint, ardint love, accidintal anguish. Dint.

  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.