Dark Angels Note 71

Dearest Friends,

Welcome back to our weekly Dark Angels Note.

This week the talented Faye Sharpe celebrates 10 years as a Dark Angel and shares with us a few of her writerly pearls.


1. Tell us about something you’re working on right now. 

After years of researching and writing London to Bombay 1939 and while I wait for agents and publishers to get back to me, I am looking for another story to tell, more specifically a story that wants to be told and wants to be told by me!  So while I wait, I am writing with Dark Angels (of course), led by Jamie and Richard. These particular exercises require longer, more considered, writing. Short essays, if you like. I am producing quite a series. Who knows where I might lead myself?

BTW October 2021 is my 10th anniversary as a Dark Angel – October 2011, Foundation Course, Moniack Mor, facilitated by John and Jamie and where I met Neil Baker.


2. Can you recommend something for us to read?

Read omnivorously – whatever comes across your desk. You’ll discover what you like, what you don’t and then the trick is to figure out why. And don’t be surprised if that changes too. For example, a book I needed serendipitously made itself known to me: Hear Yourself: How to find peace in a noisy world by Prem Rawat. It was beautifully edited by our very own Tim Rich.  So, that in itself is a recommendation.


3. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever read or received? 

Read everything you write out loud – prose or poetry, correspondence or copy. Writing is an oral and aural medium, more akin to music and the performing arts than the visual (though beautiful design enhances everything!) Listen for the music in your voice, the cadence and rhythm. The choice of words is not only for their definitions and connotations but also for their tone and tempo. Even the number of syllables will stimulate or inhibit a story’s pulse and swing. When you read aloud, punctuation becomes musical notation for your reader.

Who taught me this? My mother, who insisted I read aloud to her every evening while she cooked supper.  We got through a lot of books together. And, by the way, she also insisted I did my piano practice as soon as I got home from school. Homework was relegated to the hour after supper.


4. Share one thing you do when you get stuck.

Write a letter. Once I get the address down: To Whom It May Concern and the salutation: Dear Madam, I am writing. I can discuss what I am stuck on or simply forget that I’m stuck and natter away about nothing in particular.


5. What’s your desert island book and why? 

Ah! That would depend on how long I am staying. I might have to tell my rescuers to come back later when I’ve finished the book. Long or short? Probably long. Something I haven’t read? Risky. Maybe I’ll find a treasure chest on the island, full of the books left by previous castaways. Sandy, dog-eared, foxed and damp from salty sea-spray… histories, adventures, mysteries, biographies, philosophies, poetry.  Maybe I’ll find a story waiting to be told, waiting for me. But if you’re really going to press me, just like the radio programme… I’d have to say At The Bottom of The Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins and Other Troublesome Things  by Diane Purkiss.

Thanks so much Faye. What a gorgeous image – a treasure chest of books!


Dark Angels Online Advanced Course

Join Richard and Jamie on the Advanced Online Writing Course this Autumn. A guided journey into language and storytelling, there’ll be a mix of live online sessions, fast-paced writing exercises with time built-in to work on a personal piece of writing.

Two-hour sessions, twice a week, for one month.
Dates: each Monday and Thursday, November 8 – December 2
Time: UK 5.30 – 7.30 PM; US E Coast 12.30 – 2.30 PM; US W Coast 9.30 – 11.30 AM
Fee: £795 / E895 / $1095


October Starter Day 

On 20th October at London’s October Gallery, John and Neil plan to host an in-person day of writing. This course is designed as a first step into the world of Dark Angels. But if you’ve worked with us before and just need a day of face-to-face wordy creativity, we’re happy to give returning angels a 25% discount. We also have one 50% discount spot for a scholar – that’s someone new to writing or can’t afford the full fee. Spread the word.

Timings: 09:30 – 16:30
Fee: £475

Interested in either of these courses or a scholarship place? Contact Susanne.


Dark Angels Gatherings

Our Tuesday night gatherings are off and running once again. Same time as before (7.00-8.00pm in the UK), but with a new Zoom link. If you fancy an hour of connection and reflection in the company of other Dark Angels, you’d be very welcome; bring a friend too.

Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here..

From everyone at Dark Angels

Also published on Medium.