There are many books on writing. How to write copy that really sells! through to Write the novel that’s hiding inside you. They all make big claims, and they all have their advocates – so why would we want to add one more book on writing to the teetering pile?
We believe that what we propose is a necessary book because nothing else like this is currently available – and because Dark Angels is an idea and a philosophy that has been developed by years of practical application that is both useful and inspiring. And, it has been championed by writers of many different kinds, novelists and copywriters, poets and business writers who all endorse the power of Dark Angels to improve writing and to change lives, not least their own.
We believe that you become a better copywriter if you learn techniques from fiction and poetry – and, heresy of heresies, you become a better literary writer if you hone your skills daily on commercial writing in the business world. The problem with ‘becoming a better writer’ is that people divide writing into compartments that, they insist, should never meet.
The Dark Angels philosophy is different; it is based on the need to allow emotion and personality into writing, then to shape it with a writer’s craft. We help people to become better writers by understanding the pleasures of many genres, by building confidence and by engaging with the sheer joy of words. Through residential courses we work with writers who emerge, in their words, transformed by the experience. Over fifteen years, involving hundreds of participants, we have established an approach that is unlike any other.
Now we want to build on the books previously written by the founding individuals, to produce a collection by twelve Dark Angels founders and associates that cover many different aspects of writing. Dark Angels On Writing will become the book on writing for writers of all kinds. It will take practical experience from the working world and inspirational examples from the literary world to create a book that will combine the useful with the lyrical, practical advice with emotive examples.
Above all, it will be a great read.
By John Simmons
Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself a question. It can be any question. What’s certain is that you will answer it by using words.
Let’s assume your question goes beyond the everyday ‘What’s for breakfast?’. Perhaps it’s a question about yourself as a person and about your own life. ‘Why do I do what I do?’ It’s a question we as writers should ask frequently of our ourselves, of our own individual purpose, much as we might question the purpose of the brands or organisations that we deal with.” Otherwise we are doing things out of habit rather than conviction.
A writer needs to write from conviction. I write because I love writing, there’s no other time when I feel quite as alive as when I’m writing. If I’m lucky, if the words are flowing, time passes almost unnoticed. I find it strange that we can be most in love with life when we’re least aware of time – yet working life revolves around limitations set by time. Is this why we often rebel against the routine of ‘work’ and, as writers, achieve our best work outside those limitations? We become rebels. Dark Angels come from a rebellion against the standard, the formulaic in life and work, and we use words as instruments of rebellion. Because, as we often say on our courses, we see no reason for writing to be boring.
This comes from a belief in the power of words. Words tap into our emotions, memories and imaginations, if they are used well. They appear on the page and the screen ready for further shaping. It’s a process that gives me joy, even exhilaration; that stirs me enough to bring tears to my eyes at times. If so, I know that the chances are that the reader will connect with those feelings and share them. The reader will feel engaged and curious because the writer is; will smile from a shared insight; will well up at the connection to a personal feeling that is also universal. Only connect.
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These people are helping to fund Dark Angels On Writing.