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

Saturday, March 12, 2005

My nose has a scent map of your body. I can chart the territories, from your shampoo-oily hair to your hard-walked feet. Your secret places carry complex stories of their own, of love and shrieking pleasure and old sorrow all mixed together. If I but had the words, I could build you anew, and carry you with me, incorporeal but real as autumn smoke. draws me back to you with every turn of the sun.

Friday, March 11, 2005
Echo Chamber

I lived in an echo chamber once. I had to everything twice -- wake up, go to sleep, put on my socks. When I talked on the phone, it was all I could do not to hear myself. The worst parts were when I ordered food in. Ever tried to eat pizza twice?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Reunion approaches like the sun below the far horizon, anticipation staining my inner sky the faintest salmon glow. Silver-scaled night without you will soon retreat to a memory when the sunlight of your presence erupts within my soul. Come soon, come soon, reunion is at hand, no need to repent at all.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Senator Palps paces the hallowed halls of Araneida, unable to keep his mouth shut. The halls are gloomy and dank, smelling of dust and must. Other senators doze in the shadows, dark spots in the corners, dreaming and snoring, or watching through hooded eyes, still, only pretending to be asleep.

(Today's storyword by guest author RuthN)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

We estivate when the sun goes red, sleeping away the billion-year summer until dwarfism overtakes our star and we can come out of our jars and dance by the light of the ice.

Monday, March 07, 2005

In a Plutocracy, we are ruled by cartoon dogs who do not wear pants. Unfortunately for us, they are also wealthy overlords of the dead, so there is a high risk of being zombified. The zombies do not wear pants either. This is even more unfortunate.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I took my ontogeny where I could find it -- floating in a jar of mother-of-vinegar, at the bottom of a barrel of petroleum jelly that had once held automatic weapons stored in a Greek cave for several decades, from the mouth of a dying hedge-witch in New South Wales -- but it was never enough. I observed the forms, I followed the structures, I unfolded myself across the generations of experience. In the end, I had to make my own.

  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.