A hard-to-read sentence in a newspaper article
The quotation below is a sentence from an AP article about J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. It was written by Jill Lawless, a busy foreign correspondent whose editor should have intervened here, but didn't.
Just try reading this aloud.
Rowling (her name rhymes with bowling, rather than howling), looking relaxed in jeans and a sweater, shoulder-length blonde hair stylishly cut, has wildly mixed emotions at leaving behind the character she conjured up during a train journey across England in 1990: a neglected, bespectacled orphan who learns on his 11th birthday that he is a wizard.
If I were her editor, that long sentence would have been broken into two sentences. I would have slightly reworded it to get rid of two awkward phrases and an adjective that looks better than it sounds. The result would be something like this:
Rowling, whose name rhymes with bowling, looked relaxed in jeans and a sweater, shoulder-length blonde hair stylishly cut. She has wildly mixed emotions at leaving behind the character she conjured up during a 1990 train journey across England: a neglected orphan with spectacles who learns on his 11th birthday that he is a wizard.
Isaac says, "Well, Mom, your version's not as journalistic." Maybe not, but it's easier to read. He does have a point, though. I'm not a journalist. I'm just a woman with a blog.