[Write on Wednesday] Cataloguing

Today’s prompt kicks off a month of Write On Wednesday short story prompts that focus on odd or very specific formats of stories.

Remember when Elaine from Seinfeld got a job writing for the J. Peterman catalogue? Every entry was a tiny short story, usually ridiculous, about the fantasy character who would wear/carry each product.

That’s what I want you to try today.

J. Peterman Catalogue screenshot

The Prompt

Write an imaginary entry for a pretentious, high-end catalogue


  • Think about the character who might use the piece you are highlighting
  • Think about the image you’re selling to the reader
  • Take the characteristics or details of your imaginary friends, and amp them up to outrageous levels
  • Make yourself laugh
  • Be as over the top as you like
  • Include a description of the object that contains sensory details
  • Keep the ‘story’ to around 200 words
  • Once you’re finished, look at your little story and see what you could learn from it, when you’re writing character or setting descriptions in the future.
  • Could you use some of the techniques you employed here, even if you dial it back a little?


Leave a comment and let me know the product you described and the character you chose. What did you discover in your writing today?

6 thoughts on “[Write on Wednesday] Cataloguing”

  1. For the discriminating inmate, we have a line of custom caps, jumpers, briefs (7 pack) and loafers. True, your favorite boutique is out of range and Frederick’s of Hollywood’s liquidator doesn’t deliver to federal penitentiaries, but for you, we understand sacrificing style is not an option. You worked hard out there to establish your reputation and we are here to insure you don’t miss a beat. For instance, your style consultant can help you choose from one of three crown heights to ease the profile of a knowledge bump that may be more of a dent.

    And so on …

    1. I love that it isn’t clear Jacquelyn is clothed at all until she puts the dress on. I see Pierce Brosnan and Kristen Wiig pulling this televised ad off perfectly.

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