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Editing - aargh

edited January 2017 in Writing
The most difficult part for me is I can write quite allusively. I like to give the overall feel of something without the need to explain every word. My editor asks for clarification on everything.

Page 1. I want to say 'they were halted in a winding rush,' for when they slam into a haystack. By that I mean they were winded on impact. Ed thinks the meaning is unclear. I see her point but my phrase fits the rhythm and mythical feel better than a simple factual statement. What do you think?


  • I see a connection between movement and winding (as in a twisting movement). Some readers will read it twice for the intended meaning and that's never good. Can something be halted in a rush?
  • I read 'winding' as in 'winding something up' - not as in being 'winded' when the breath is punched out of you - so I do think you need to change the sentence, annoying as that may be. Because, as Baggy said - it's never good if the reader has to re-read a sentence in order to make sense of it.
  • I read it the same way Claudia.
  • I read it as winding, as in cork-screwing, not as a rush causing them to be winded.
    It's an awkward one, because you know what you mean it to imply, but the reader doesn't; and the ambiguity of the spelling/pronunciation makes the reader question it.
    I'd change it unless what precedes and follows it makes the meaning obvious.

    They were halted in a rush? It's almost akin to 'They came to a sudden halt', but it's odd. 'They were halted in their rush' would make sense, but with a different meaning.
    'They were halted in a hurry' - same idea, but again it doesn't quiet work.
    'They windmilled to a halt' - I've seen that used, and it's perhaps more obviously descriptive of their actions.
  • Yeah, ana. I too, on first read, took it to be winding, as in a 'winding' road.
  • Yes, I read winding to rhyme with binding. so you might want to rearrange the sentence so you can still use the word but make it clearer from the context.
  • I might say:

    As they slammed into the haystack they were winded to a halt.


    They were winded to a halt as they slammed into the haystack.

  • Your explanation of the phrase is just as good - 'They slammed into the haystack.'
  • Thanks everyone. My editor is usually right and you've all confirmed it. I'll go and tinker.
  • 'They slammed into the haystack.'
    Short and snappy. That's all it needs (in my view).
  • Ana's writing is far from usual. i look forward to seeing what it has become.
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