In a scene from my book, a character, Nastia, has been shot and she's taking small steps to a staircase. But as she staggers, at one point, she can't handle the pain so she tumbles down the stairs and knocks out. With the way I phrased it below, I just don't feel like it gives off a very professional or emotional vibe to it. Are there any suggestions on how to properly phrase the ending? (In bold).

Small steps carried Nastia towards a staircase, as if she'd forgotten how to walk. But it wasn't that. She had forgotten what it felt like to be free and for the first time in a long time, felt painfully liberated. She staggered until she could no longer handle the pain and tumbled down the staircase, knocking out.

As I said above, it doesn't seem to be the most professional in terms of how it's phrased. I also don't feel like it gives off the vibe of the emotional scene, just because of word choice.

2 Answers 2


Blacking out is the phrase I believe you're looking for, meaning "to become unconscious."

The example given by the link is:

After I fell, I must have blacked out.

  • A person may black out for many different reasons -- excessive consumption of alcohol, strangulation, shock. "Knock out" requires a blow, either literally as in a punch, or figuratively, as in something equivalent in force like chloral hydrate.
    – deadrat
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 6:45
  • Or "passed out" due to pain or blood loss, not dissimilar to "blacked out." Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:40

If you want to using "knocking," you'll have to grammatically deliver a blow to make the person unconscious. You have several choices:

Active voice:

She tumbled down the staircase, the fall knocking her out.

Passive voice:

She tumbled down the staircase. She was knocked out by the fall.


She tumbled down the staircase, knocking herself out.

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