When I went to my writing group on Thursday, I wasn’t that familiar with microfiction, also known as flash fiction. For one of the evening's activities, our friend Loretta suggested we all try our hand at writing microfiction. She pulled up a site www.zathom.com and read us the site’s rules.
For this site, the finished product contains between 48—55 words and has to include at least three words from their lists. The required words are called fathoms. There’s a regular list of 37 fathoms, from which we must choose two words that range from alien to zombie, from tourist to wallpaper. Next we must choose at least one word from the “seasonal” fathom list, which contains 61 words, such as genesis, spring, flush, and blush.
Can’t you see the Zathom editors sitting around, puffing on a medicinal herb, and throwing out random words until they’ve compiled the lists?
With some initial confusion and much laughter on our part (and all we had was a drive-through daiquiri we were sharing), we each chose our fathoms, and settled down to write our microfiction as part of a ten minute exercise. Actually this type of writing is my cup of tea. I was probably one of the few students who loved the elementary school assignment of using spelling words to compose a story.
Several of the writing group counted their words as they wrote. I couldn’t do that and decided to get my thoughts and fathoms down on paper, then edit to the required 48—55 words.
I decided to share my 55 word microfiction with you below. (The fathoms, or required words, are in italics. I included an extra fathom, just because.)
The baby-faced, seventeen-year-old girl stepped onto the dock gazing at a world of tropical gardens, rain forests, and slumbering volcanoes. The boat captain had kept his promise to show her an island never seen by tourists. As the captain and the village elder greeted each other, the only words she understood were virgin and volcano.