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

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The bilious sails yellowed my ship nicely as I tacked around the Isles of Langerhans, making for my home port of Fort Spleen. It's a rough run I make, but the money has always been good. I was careful to avoid the shoals of ravaging chunk, and the blech storms, and kept wax plugs in my nose at all times.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The chooks fly at midnight, soaring over the open ocean in search of new lands and distant shores. Their majestic wings beat against the starry sky, the wind of their passage stirs sleepers in huts and boat cabins far below. They are the avatars of grace and beauty. They are feathered suns in the pre-dawn sky. They are--

Wait. They are chickens. Sheesh. Chooks. Get a grip.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The potentate sat on his walrus-ivy throne, clad in silks from beyond Uttermost Araby and dreaming of the days of lemonade and watermelons when his bicycle clicked and clattered to the sound of a Honus Wagner baseball card shredding in his spokes.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The arcsine lofts above me like a tramline, blazing bright in the summer sky. I can follow its not-so-tortured curves, watching its progress through the obscure trignometries of physics and desire. I can be the arcsine, if only I transform myself enough.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

He likes to elide, our boy, travelling as if over ice on all terrains and in all circumstances. He glosses over the troubles of life, slides along the rumpled lands, spreading calm in his wake. Or so he thinks. Elision is always easier from the front, and life doesn't have rear-view mirrors.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

We sliced the brisket from the bone, and cooked it up with sauce. We made the flavor into our own, and then the dinner was lost. The cows came home and demanded comp for their contribution to the cause, and the cats ran off with the meat in mouth which left us at a loss.

  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.