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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.
Dark Angels is a writing programme established in 2004 – just newcomers, then…. We take writers to remote places and help them to write more effectively at work. We believe in business communication that is creative, engaging and human – that’s what makes it effective.
Because good ideas thrive, work is more meaningful, organisations prosper and relationships flourish when people respect the power of language and use words with skill and care.
We run courses that help people to develop their writing skills and creative confidence in ways that are fun, challenging and safe. When they return to work, they can write in more natural, human and engaging ways. They can use the power of stories to connect with people. They can explain their ideas more clearly. And they are more effective communicators.
The programme was established by Stuart Delves, Jamie Jauncey and John Simmons, whose book ‘Dark Angels’ describes the philosophy. In 2016 Dark Angels grew beyond its three founders to encompass Associate Partners who are helping to spread the Dark Angels experience more widely. They are all highly regarded writers and trainers, and have each written a chapter of this book. They are: Neil Baker, Claire Bodanis, Gillian Colhoun, Mike Gogan, Martin Lee, Elen Lewis, Andy Milligan, Richard Pelletier and Craig Watson.
Many of these writers were authors of the Dark Angels collective novel ‘Keeping Mum’, published by Unbound in 2014, and of ‘Established – Lessons from the World’s Oldest Companies’, published by Unbound earlier this year.
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.
- 6th December 2018 100%
Well, we achieved our 100% funding in just three months so it’s a big thank you to all our Dark Angels supporters. The very good news is that this means the book will now go into design, editing and production so that we can put it in your hands as soon as possible. I’ve read all the chapters and it’s going to be a great book, everything we hoped for when we promised THE book on writing. So, very…22nd November 2018 The Foreword for the book...
I am fond of asking my professional colleagues to ‘bring themselves to work’. Not to remedy absenteeism, but to benefit from who they really are.
When at work, we all play act, to varying degrees. We wear different masks, depending on who we’re with, or where we are. And business environments seem to be the place in which we assume the most inauthentic version of our true selves.
From our …
These people are helping to fund Dark Angels On Writing.
Liza van Rijsoort