A story with an arc and an ark

Humorist Dottie Rockel was among participants at this summer's Iowa Summer Writing Festival. The topic of the day was "story arc," which means the movement of a story -- character, complication, climax, resolution. If presented visually, this is an arc.

The class was asked to ante up a word each to create a word prompt, and then to write in class a short piece using the words and, of course, employing the "story arc."

Prompt words included in the quick-write: lousy, thunderstorm, paradigm, galaxy, star, yesterday, reconcile, willy-nilly, golden, satchel, pigeon.

This is the clever story Dottie wrote on the fly.

The Arc

By Dottie Rockel

He’d known to expect it. It had been prophesied so he’d already figured out all of his cubits and gotten his gopher wood and constructed the ark according to plan.

It didn’t surprise him when the weather turned lousy and the golden sun was replaced with a sudden thunderstorm and Oh, the rain!

He wasn’t sure how this animal thing would work out. It all seemed a bit will-nilly but, as predicted, they came two by two in orderly fashion. There were pairs of elephants, monkeys and even a rare paradigm. He was happiest to see the pigeons and the doves come aboard, making him feel a little more certain about that olive branch part.

He packed up Mrs. Noah, Ham, Shem, Japhet and their mates and grabbed his satchel of clean underwear. Yesterday had been sunny. Now he was reconciled to the incessant rain. He looked at the night sky to try to pick out a galaxy or even a single star, but he wouldn’t see one for 39 more days.


Humor writer Dottie Rockel is moderator of the Monday Morning Writers Group that meets at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has written numerous humorous essays and also a history of her family.

After Arc Story, read more humor.

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