Gian S. Pagnucci, Ph.D.
Department of English
Indiana University of Pennsylvania


Gian Pagnucci


Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Web Resources


English 101: College Writing

Assignment: Story Catalog

Dr. Gian Pagnucci


We'll be doing a lot of story writing in this course, so to help give you some ideas for what to write about, we'll start by making a catalog listing a bunch of the good stories you know. To do this, I'd like you to create a list of interesting stories you could write using the categories below:

  • Happy Stories--Stories about good memories you have, like holidays or being with special people
  • Funny Stories--Stories about things that bring a smile to your face or make you laugh
  • Sad Stories--These are often stories of losing things (people or special items); sometimes they are about growing up as well
  • Love Stories--Stories about relationships you or your friends/relatives have had, good or bad
  • Friendship Stories--Stories about making friends or doing things with good/best friends
  • Sports Stories--Stories about taking part in or watching sports
  • Educational Stories--Stories that have to do with school or learning new things (like when you learned to ride a bike or drive)
  • Embarrassing Stories--Stories where you or someone you knew did something that was a little bit foolish or downright silly
  • Work Stories--Stories that relate to doing jobs, both paid and unpaid (even cleaning your room or helping at your church)
  • Imaginary Stories--These should be ideas for stories which are made up, both realistic stories (like the dream date you wish you could go on) or completely far fetched (like what it would be like to travel to Mars, which is where most real dates come from anyway)

There are 10 categories in this list. For each category, I want you to come up with 2 or 3 potential story ideas. That will give you a total of 20-30 possible stories. Don't worry, you won't have to write all of these stories out, but the more ideas you can get down, the better luck you'll have identifying good stories to write later.

For each entry in your catalog, write the following information:

  • Category Name
  • Potential Title for this Story (it must be something MORE CREATIVE than just the category name; so don't just list "Sad Story")
  • A short, 2-3 sentence description explaining what the story is about (write enough that you will be able to look at the entry later and remember what the story is about)

Below is an example of how your catalog entries should look. Remember, you will be listing two or three ideas for each category. It is helpful to number each category entry, like Sad Story 1, Sad Story 2, and so on.

Funny Story 1
"The Soup Bowl"
This is a story about when my father went on his first date with my mother. The date was going fine until my father sat down to dinner. My father was dressed up and as he sat down, his tie landed in the tomato soup my grandmother had made as an appetizer.

I'll give bonus points for all ideas over 20. To keep you from writing forever, though, I'm setting the maximum number of story ideas you can turn in at 30.)

Please type your catalog entries. Format the entries as in the example above. Single space each entry and leave a blank line between entries. Your entire story catalog should end up being a few pages long.

Print out 2 copies of your Story Catalog. Bring BOTH copies to class. You will hand in 1 copy and you will need to use the other copy for note taking during class. Do NOT come to class with only 1 copy of your story catalog if you want to get full credit! (You may NOT make copies or print at class, so make your copies AHEAD OF TIME.)


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