Short Story Challenge – 10 Awesome Reasons For Writing Short Stories

You are invited to a short story writing challenge...

I have been writing a lot of short stories lately and I have been having so much fun. So, I have decided to make it a year-long project. I am going to write one short story per month. Do you want to join me?

Why short stories?

Because they’re awesome, but also because:
  1. You can hone your craft: A short story is the perfect place to practise and to hone your craft. We all have strengths and weaknesses as writers. Some writers excel at dialogue, but suck at setting and description or their plots rock, but their characters are flat and predictable. A short story offers us the opportunity to improve our weaknesses and have fun with our strengths.

  2. There is less pressure: When we write novels, we need to keep our wits about us. We need 60 coherent scenes, in the correct order that shows us the story. With a short story there is less pressure.

  3. Your prompts can be published: Every writer needs to practise and a daily prompt is great, but when you turn that prompt into a short story you have something to enter, publish or stick up on the fridge. Prompts tend to remain in our notebooks; short stories become something you can use. Don’t stop with the prompts though. They help you find ideas. 

  4. They give you a break: Writing a novel is as challenging as it is thrilling. There are times when the words flow and the story works, then there are times when they don’t. That is when you write a short story.

  5. The reduced word count makes you work hard: Novels have space, short stories don’t. If you over write, this is a great way to shorten and strengthen your writing. When you must count, and evaluate each word, it changes the way you write. 

  6. They give you deadlines: There are hundreds, if not thousands of short story competitions. Use them to work towards your goals and deadlines.

  7. They are good for setting short-term goals: When we write novels, they can take months or even years. Short stories offer an opportunity to set short-term goals to keep us motivated and invigorated for the long-term goal achievement. 

  8. You can deal with back-story: Writing short stories is a great way of getting to know your characters. Put them into a situation that you haven’t thought of before or that isn’t included in your book and see what they get up to. Or write that important event in their childhood that shaped them and changed their lives. You won’t necessarily use it, but it’s a great way to layer and explore character.

  9. You can experiment: This is my favourite part about writing short stories. If you always write in third person, try first or even second person. If you have never written fantasy, give it a go. If a scene from your novel isn’t working, change characters and write it as a short story from another character’s point of view. 

  10. They allow you to brainstorm: Use a short story to explore a theme or an alternative ending to your scene or story. Change viewpoint, gender or genre. There are no rules. The short story is a brilliant tool. Use it.
I hope that I have convinced you that short stories are valuable. It would be awesome if you would like to join me for this adventure.

How it will work:

  1. I’ll be writing a series of posts about the craft of short story writing. These will be published once a week, on a Wednesday(mostly).
  2. On the second last Wednesday of every month I’ll post the next prompt and my short story. That gives you roughly four weeks to write your story. 
  3. You will be welcome to share your story, as well as comment on each other’s stories.
  4. The word counts will vary every month, but more about that next week. 
  5. The goal is to have 12 short stories at the end of the year and a seriously improved skill set.
Please remember: This is not a competition. It’s about discipline, productivity and learning. Not all my stories will be great, but they will, at least be written. 

The Prompt: 

Our first prompt is: The List. 
Word count: 1500 words.
Deadline: 15 February 2017. Post your story as a comment on my short story post on that day. 

NOTE: Some competition rules state that stories must be ‘previously unpublished’. Don’t share your story if you do not want it published or if you are planning on using it for a competition.  

Look out for my next post on short stories: What Exactly Is A Short Story?

If you want to learn how to write a short story, join us for Short Cuts

 by Mia Botha

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Use Your Antagonist To Define Your Story Goal

If you want to write a book, you have to keep your characters busy. You need to give them something to do. Presenting them with a tangible threat, giving them a reason to overcome it, and allowing them a way out, will give them a physical story goal.

As Chuck Palahniuk says: 'One of the most-common mistakes that beginning writers make is leaving their characters alone. Writing, you may be alone. Reading, your audience may be alone. But your character should spend very, very little time alone. Because a solitary character starts thinking or worrying or wondering.'

The easiest way to define your protagonist’s story goal is to determine your antagonist’s physical story goal. The two will be in conflict with each other. 

It is often easier to give your antagonist a physical goal. It is also easier for us to assign base story goals to villains than to assign them to our heroes. If you understand this, we can use it to your advantage. 

Remember, to define a physical story goal a character needs: 
  1. to get something physical
  2. to cause something physical
  3. to escape something physical
  4. to resolve something physical
  5. to survive something physical
The pursuit of the physical goal is the road map your character needs to follow to achieve his or her abstract story goal. [Read The Story Goal - The Key To Creating A Solid Plot Structure]
Let's look at this example of a physical goal from Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
The antagonist's physical story goal: The constable wants to find, and kill, Danny Angel because Danny mistakenly killed his girlfriend, Injun Jane. The constable wants to cause something physical – Danny’s death.
The protagonist's physical story goal: Danny wants to physically move away from the constable and survive. He wants to live, and write books. Danny wants to escape something physical – The constable killing him.
When the constable finally tracks him down, Danny kills him. The constable therefore fails to achieve his story goal.  Danny achieves his story goal. When the antagonist does not achieve his physical goal, the story ends. 

Let's look at the abstract goal from Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
The antagonist's abstract story goal: The constable wants revenge.
The protagonist's abstract story goal: Danny Angel wants to be free to live a normal life.
When the constable fails to kill Danny, he does not get his revenge. He does not achieve his abstract story goal. When Danny survives, he is able to confess his part in the accident, and go on to live ‘a normal life’. He achieves his abstract story goal as a result of his actions.
The physical goal is always the most important for the purposes of plotting and writing your book. Never forget this. Without the constant tension created by this physical goal , it is difficult to sustain momentum in your story. Chasing an abstract goal is as absurd as fighting a war on 'terror'. 

If you apply this rule to your own life, you will find that you achieve your abstract goals. For example, if you want to become a success in the publishing industry (abstract goal), you will first have to write many books (physical goal). 

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

 by Amanda Patterson.  Follow her on  Facebook,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

If you enjoyed this article, read:

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If You Don't Have These 7 Qualities You Probably Shouldn't Be Writing A Novel

Do you ever wonder why you're writing your book? Does it seem more of a chore than anything else? Sometimes, we fall in love with the idea of being a writer, rather than loving the writing itself. Over the years, I've watched people who write, and finish, their (many) novels and they seem to share these qualities.

7 Qualities You Need To Become A Novelist
  1. You have to have a passion for stories. This is more than having a passion for books. You need to love the sound and shape of words and the way they can be used to intoxicate, persuade, and change people. You have moments when you're reading and you stop because a sentence is so exquisite it takes your breath away. Your mind is probably never quiet, filled as it is with all the situations you could turn into stories.
  2. You need to create. Fiction writing is not about you. You need to have something to tell that it is not autobiographical. You should be writing a memoir if that is the case. To become a writer of fiction, you should have a fantastical story populated with unique characters that keeps you up at night - a story that makes you daydream and believe that you could actually become a novelist. You should love the idea of creating something that was not there before. 
  3. You need your imaginary friends. You probably have an inner voice that narrates the life you experience around you. You will find yourself wondering what your protagonist would think about somebody you've just met or somewhere you've been. You constantly think about all the 'what ifs' you could throw her way. You shop with these characters, create worlds for them, and live through joy and tragedy with them.
  4. You cannot be afraid of a blank canvas. This can be terrifying if you prefer to have more structure in your life. Even if you have planned and plotted your novel, you have to take a leap of faith and do it. You will spend long periods alone without anybody who can help you. The book will not write itself. [Suggested Reading: So You Want To Be A Writer?]
  5. You have to be comfortable with your voice. The only way to do this is by writing many, many words. A daily writing prompt is a must for writers who want to become novelists. David Eddings says: 'My advice to the young writer is likely to be unpalatable in an age of instant successes and meteoric falls. I tell the neophyte: Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.' If you write every day, you will develop a style that is uniquely yours so that you get on with telling the story instead of stumbling on the mechanics of the writing itself.
  6. You need to love the process. Yes, writing is difficult. It could even be the hardest thing you will ever do, but you need to love the act itself. Many authors say they write because they can't do anything else. Most authors say they write to find out what they think. Writing teaches you more about yourself and the world around you than you could ever imagine. [Suggested Reading: 10 Things Successful Authors Do]
  7. You have to do the time. The ability to work alone, setting deadlines, and reaching word counts is not for the fainthearted. This is where learning the craft of novel-writing can really help you, because it teaches you structure and discipline. Sue Grafton advises writers to slow down. She says, 'I don't know that people are spending the time and attention on learning how to write -- which takes years. Everybody sees the success stories. So instead of taking five years to learn how to write a decent sentence, they're writing a book proposal and asking who your editor and your agent are. So I find it a little infuriating that there is not more care given to the issue of being wonderful at writing.' If you can learn the rules, write the words, set a goal and reach it on a regular basis, you will probably be able to finish writing a novel. 
There are many more qualities you could and should have, but these seven seem to be an intrinsic part of a writer's make-up. Please add the qualities you think novelists should have in the comments section.

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

 by Amanda Patterson.  Follow her on  Facebook,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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The Science of Storytelling

Many studies show us that our brains prefer storytelling to facts.

When we read facts, only the language parts of our brains work to understand the meaning. When we read a story, the language parts of our brains and any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading, light up.

This means that it’s easier for us to remember stories than facts. Our brains can't make major distinctions between a story we’re reading about and something we are actually doing.  

Individuals, brands and companies need to learn how to take advantage of this and make it part of their marketing strategy. Writers Write offers The Social Brand - how to write for social media, and The Story of a Business - storytelling for business, as part of The Plain Language Programme.

But how does this actually work?

Source for Infographic: OneSpot

If you enjoyed this post read:

  1. Social networks need a ‘constant gardener’ to grow and sustain them
  2. The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following - Being There
  3. Three Top Tips for Writing for Social Media
  4. Eight Invaluable Blogging Tips for Writers
  5. 40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers
  6. Seven ways to make the most of social media
  7. Six reasons social media matters to your company
  8. Effective Internet Writing
  9. Throwback Thursdays Mean Business


Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, send an email to for more information.

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What you said about Writers Write in October

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Do you want to write a book? We think these Writers Write delegates feel as if they can after attending our novel-writing course.

  • The course was very detailed. I felt it covered a lot of the issues I was having with my novel. The facilitator is insightful, patient and enthusiastic. She coloured in the classes with her imaginative examples. I really enjoyed it. ~Gabriela
  • All the essentials with none of the fluff. I loved the exercises and there were great examples illustrating each learning point. I came to get solid tips, advice and techniques on how to write a novel. I believe that is exactly what I got. ~Marise
  • It was very intense but it made me take writing seriously. It’s helped me re-evaluate my goals. The facilitator provided great constructive criticism. Quite inspirational. ~Leonie
  • I loved the course content. The formal mechanisms and tools were what I was looking for. ~Anthony
  • Excellent. ~Shana
  • The course met all my expectations. Thank you. The facilitator was well-spoken, confident, articulate and thorough. ~Deirdre

Join us for Writers Write - how to write a book. Email to find out more.

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, send an email to for more information.

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The Worst Case Scenario Expert

I can’t breathe. I am wearing spandex. Floral spandex. The floral is a desperate attempt to disguise a body type more suited to tracksuits (Non-velour preferably). I can’t breathe, because breathing might let my belly relax. The suit won’t hold. My naked thighs quiver with vengeance. I have sand in body parts I can’t discuss right now.

I am not happy. My offspring and their father dig with enthusiasm, oblivious to my outdoor aversion.  By now you might have guessed I am on the beach. Not my natural habitat. It is hot and it is bright. I am desperate for the shadows of my study, for the electronic glare of my laptop. But no, here I am. Outside, smelling like coconut. And I don’t like the beach boys.

I am pretty much towel-bound. I don’t swim. I don’t tan. I don’t play with the funny plumed ball thing. So inevitably, while avoiding sun, sand and all movement, I get bored. Very bored. Very quickly. And of course the book I packed is utter crap. Fifty shades of glittery teenage vampires or something like that.

So what do I do? I play this little game. I call it Worst Case Scenario Thinker. I try to imagine what the worst thing is that can happen to me, right now, on this beach.

What will I do if there is a Tsunami? What will I do if sharks crawl up out of the sea and eat me? (Don’t tell me it can’t happen. Darwin wrote a whole book about walking fish.) What will I do if a meteor hits and I am struck by green kryptonite?

I try to discuss these scenarios with my husband so that we can plan some kind of exit strategy, but at times like this he prefers the company of the children or the ice-cream vendor or the car guard. So, it’s pretty much up to me to save our family, the world, and well the entire universe.

But what does this have to do with writing you ask? Well, your character should be experiencing pretty much the worst thing that can happen to him. Find out what his biggest fear is and make it come true.

Clearly, I fear losing my family to walking sharks in the middle of a meteor shower that triggers a tsunami while my husband is talking to the car guard. But, what does your character fear? Find out and use it. Bad news is good news in fiction. Ah, life is so much better for writers don’t you think?

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. 6 Things To Consider Before You Cross Your Genres
  2. Fiction Writers Should Have Fun - A day in the life of Me
  3. Write About What Matters
  4. Confessions of a Serial Killer- How to kill characters when you write

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Natalie Goldberg - How to start writing

From Natalie Goldberg’s page on Facebook

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email

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The Ghost on the Bookshelf - All about ghost writing

Ghost Writing Article from Writers Write

The ghost writer provides an interesting service to the world of stories. After all, a book is written by the ghost writer but someone else gets the credit. ‘The book just seemed to write itself,’ the author will tell the press and adoring fans. And, the ghost writer will sit in the wings, the Cinderella of the literary world.

What does it take to become a ghost writer? 

Obviously, the ability to write is crucial, but these three things are just as important: 

  1. The ghost-writer requires oodles of patience, empathy and the ability to actually listen to the author’s story and then translate it into a publishable book. 
  2. The ghost-writer requires a special talent to write the story in the author’s voice. Discipline and an understanding of storytelling techniques are crucial tools for the aspiring ghost-writer.
  3. Ghost-writers need to deal with big egos but should not succumb to their own. Why? Because it is really difficult to sit back after giving birth to a story that hits the best seller list and the name on the cover gets all the credit. 

Why do writers become ghost writers?

Writers need to eat and this is one way to make money. Ghost writers are paid a flat rate to write so if the book is a flop this will not affect the ghost writer’s pocket. 
The ghost writer has access to different stories. The opportunity to work with celebrities and other interesting people is one of the perks of the job. Ghost writers get an open invitation to the lifestyles of the rich-and-famous.
Telling other people’s stories is exciting and creates a perspective on different styles of writing. 

Seven Famous Ghost Writers and Authors

  1. Michael Robotham (Bleed for Me) was ghost-writer for ‘authors’ like Geri Halliwell and Rolf Harris.
  2. Carolyne Keen is as fictional as the teen sleuth, Nancy Drew that she was supposed to create.
  3. James Patterson credits his ghost-writers as co-authors on the covers of his books. Peter de Jongh (Shadows still Remain) and Andrew Gross (15 Seconds) were two of Patterson’s co-authors.
  4. John F Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles in Courage, was ghost-written by his speech writer, Theodore Sorenson.
  5. Ian Fleming died while writing The Man with the Golden Gun so Kinglsey Amis had to step in as writer.
  6. RL Stine, author of the Goosebumps series, turned to ghost-writers to help him churn out the popular chiller series faster.
  7. The Star Wars book was credited to director George Lucas but was actually ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster.

If you want to learn how to write a book, and begin your career as a ghost writer, join our creative writing course Writers Write – How to write a book. E

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Ulrike Hill - Writers Write by Ulrike Hill 

Ulrike Hill is a Business & Creative Writing Facilitator for Writers Write. She is the author of Tackling the Brickwall and co-author of Debbie Calitz: 20 Months of Hostage Hell (Penguin).


Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, send an email to for more information.

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Six Ways To Describe A Character In First Person

We are often asked if characters should describe themselves at Writers Write. We are asked how they could describe themselves. When we came across this post by Stephanie Orges, we wanted to share some of her ideas with you. (If you want to read the full article, follow the link at the end)

Six Ways First Person Narrators Can Describe Themselves

By Stephanie Orges

1. Don’t describe him at all
Do your readers have to know what the protagonist looks like to understand the plot? If not, consider leaving it out altogether. 

2. Give it to your reader straight
If you are actually telling the story with frequent quirky asides to your “dear reader”, your hero can simply describe himself during introductions. But be warned: don’t try to force it if this isn’t your style.

3. Embarrass them
Make them self-conscious about a physical flaw. She only smiles close-mouthed because she’s embarrassed by the gap in her teeth. He wishes he had biceps like the head jock.

4. Compare and contrast with another character
‘My daughter has my crooked smile, but her father’s blue eyes’. These can even create a poetic effect, as you can simultaneously compare and contrast personality traits as well.

5. Use dialogue
Her best friend gently explains dark roots are out of fashion. His father remarks he really ought to cut his hair (he looks like a hippie). Her enemy asks if she’s a natural redhead. Use compliments and nicknames.

6. Show, don’t tell
If they are short, have them struggle to reach something most others could get. If tall, have them duck through doorways. If they are unattractive, make them self-conscious around people of the opposite sex. Your hero’s appearance is reflected in the way other characters react to it.

Read the full article: Source

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, send an email to for more information.

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200 Most Common Redundancies


  • (absolutely) essential
  • (absolutely) necessary
  • (actual) facts
  • advance (forward)
  • (advance) planning
  • (advance) preview
  • (advance) reservations
  • (advance) warning
  • add (an additional)
  • add (up)
  • (added) bonus
  • (affirmative) yes
  • (aid and) abet
  • (all-time) record
  • alternative (choice)
  • A.M. (in the morning)
  • (and) etc.
  • (anonymous) stranger
  • (annual) anniversary
  • (armed) gunman
  • (artificial) prosthesis
  • ascend (up)
  • ask (the question)
  • assemble (together)
  • attach (together)
  • ATM (machine)
  • autobiography (of his or her own life)


  • bald(-headed)
  • balsa (wood)
  • (basic) fundamentals
  • (basic) necessities
  • best (ever)
  • biography (of his--or her--life)
  • blend (together)
  • (boat) marina
  • bouquet (of flowers)
  • brief (in duration)
  • (brief) moment
  • (brief) summary
  • (burning) embers


  • cacophony (of sound)
  • cameo (appearance)
  • cancel (out)
  • (careful) scrutiny
  • cash (money)
  • cease (and desist)
  • circle (around)
  • circulate (around)
  • classify (into groups)
  • (close) proximity
  • (closed) fist
  • collaborate (together)
  • combine (together)
  • commute (back and forth)
  • compete (with each other)
  • (completely) annihilate
  • (completely) destroyed
  • (completely) eliminate
  • (completely) engulfed
  • (completely) filled
  • (completely) surround
  • (component) parts
  • confer (together)
  • connect (together)
  • connect (up)
  • confused (state)
  • consensus (of opinion)
  • (constantly) maintained
  • cooperate (together)
  • could (possibly)
  • crisis (situation)
  • curative (process)
  • (current) incumbent
  • (current) trend


  • depreciate (in value)
  • descend (down)
  • (desirable) benefits
  • (different) kinds
  • disappear (from sight)
  • drop (down)
  • during (the course of)
  • dwindle (down)


  • each (and every)
  • earlier (in time)
  • eliminate (altogether)
  • emergency (situation)
  • (empty) hole
  • empty (out)
  • (empty) space
  • enclosed (herein)
  • (end) result
  • enter (in)
  • (entirely) eliminate
  • equal (to one another)
  • eradicate (completely)
  • estimated at (about)
  • evolve (over time)
  • (exact) same
  • (exposed) opening
  • extradite (back)


  • (face) mask
  • fall (down)
  • (favorable) approval
  • (fellow) classmates
  • (fellow) colleague
  • few (in number)
  • filled (to capacity)
  • (final) conclusion
  • (final) end
  • (final) outcome
  • (final) ultimatum
  • (first and) foremost
  • (first) conceived
  • first (of all)
  • fly (through the air)
  • follow (after)
  • (foreign) imports
  • (former) graduate
  • (former) veteran
  • (free) gift
  • (from) whence
  • (frozen) ice
  • (frozen) tundra
  • full (to capacity)
  • (full) satisfaction
  • fuse (together)
  • (future) plans
  • (future) recurrence


  • gather (together)
  • (general) public
  • GOP (party)
  • GRE (exam)
  • green [or blue or whatever] (in color)
  • grow (in size)


  • had done (previously)
  • (harmful) injuries
  • (head) honcho
  • heat (up)
  • HIV (virus)
  • hoist (up)
  • (hollow) tube
  • hurry (up)


  • (illustrated) drawing
  • incredible (to believe)
  • indicted (on a charge)
  • input (into)
  • integrate (together)
  • integrate (with each other)
  • interdependent (on each other)
  • introduced (a new)
  • introduced (for the first time)
  • (ir)regardless
  • ISBN (number)


  • join (together)
  • (joint) collaboration


  • kneel (down)
  • (knowledgeable) experts


  • lag (behind)
  • later (time)
  • LCD (display)
  • lift (up)
  • (little) baby
  • (live) studio audience
  • (live) witness
  • (local) residents
  • look (ahead) to the future
  • look back (in retrospect)


  • made (out) of
  • (major) breakthrough
  • (major) feat
  • manually (by hand)
  • may (possibly)
  • meet (together)
  • meet (with each other)
  • (mental) telepathy
  • merge (together)
  • might (possibly)
  • minestrone (soup)
  • mix (together)
  • modern ______ (of today)
  • (mutual) cooperation
  • (mutually) interdependent
  • mutual respect (for each other)
  • (number-one) leader in ________


  • nape (of her neck)
  • (native) habitat
  • (natural) instinct
  • never (before)
  • (new) beginning
  • (new) construction
  • (new) innovation
  • (new) invention
  • (new) recruit
  • none (at all)
  • nostalgia (for the past)
  • (now) pending


  • off (of)
  • (old) adage
  • (old) cliche
  • (old) custom
  • (old) proverb
  • (open) trench
  • open (up)
  • (oral) conversation
  • (originally) created
  • output (out of)
  • (outside) in the yard
  • outside (of)
  • (over) exaggerate
  • over (with)
  • (overused) cliche


  • (pair of) twins
  • palm (of the hand)
  • (passing) fad
  • (past) experience
  • (past) history
  • (past) memories
  • (past) records
  • penetrate (into)
  • period (of time)
  • (personal) friend
  • (personal) opinion
  • pick (and choose)
  • PIN (number)
  • pizza (pie)
  • plan (ahead)
  • plan (in advance)
  • (Please) RSVP
  • plunge (down)
  • (polar) opposites
  • (positive) identification
  • postpone (until later)
  • pouring (down) rain
  • (pre)board (as an airplane)
  • (pre)heat
  • (pre)record
  • (private) industry
  • (present) incumbent
  • present (time)
  • previously listed (above)
  • proceed (ahead)
  • (proposed) plan
  • protest (against)
  • pursue (after)


  • raise (up)
  • RAM (memory)
  • reason is (because)
  • reason (why)
  • recur (again)
  • re-elect (for another term)
  • refer (back)
  • reflect (back)
  • (regular) routine
  • repeat (again)
  • reply (back)
  • retreat (back)
  • revert (back)
  • rise (up)
  • round (in shape)


  • (safe) haven
  • (safe) sanctuary
  • same (exact)
  • (sand) dune
  • scrutinize (in detail)
  • self-______ (yourself)
  • separated (apart from each other)
  • (serious) danger
  • share (together)
  • (sharp) point
  • shiny (in appearance)
  • shut (down)
  • (single) unit
  • skipped (over)
  • slow (speed)
  • small (size)
  • (small) speck
  • soft (in texture) [or (to the touch)]
  • sole (of the foot)
  • spell out (in detail)
  • spliced (together)
  • start (off) or (out)
  • (still) persists
  • (still) remains
  • (sudden) impulse
  • (sum) total
  • surrounded (on all sides)


  • tall (in height)
  • tall (in stature)
  • (temper) tantrum
  • ten (in number)
  • three a.m. (in the morning)
  • (three-way) love triangle
  • time (period)
  • (tiny) bit
  • (total) destruction
  • (true) facts
  • (truly) sincere
  • tuna (fish)
  • (twelve) noon or midnight
  • (two equal) halves


  • (ultimate) goal
  • undergraduate (student)
  • (underground) subway
  • (unexpected) emergency
  • (unexpected) surprise
  • (unintentional) mistake
  • (universal) panacea
  • (unnamed) anonymous
  • UPC (code)
  • (usual) custom


  • vacillate (back and forth)
  • (veiled) ambush
  • (very) pregnant
  • (very) unique
  • visible (to the eye)


  • (wall) mural
  • warn (in advance)
  • weather (conditions)
  • weather (situation)
  • whether (or not)
  • (white) snow
  • write (down)

By Richard Nordquist

From Grammar and Composition

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