Bookshop walls lined with books. The walkway is lit by low hanging lightbulbs.

Dark Angels Note 123

Dearest Friends

Welcome back to our weekly Friday Note.



This week we are shining a light on National Novel Writing Month.

Already in full swing for 2022, NaNoWriMo began in 1999 with a clear challenge for writers and aspiring authors: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days!

Every November hundreds of thousands of writers sign up to take part and it has played a part in bringing to life novels such as Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Elizabeth Acevedo’s With the Fire on High.



“I knew a character was trying to sneak into my life. And when I tell you I pushed that voice away? I mean it! I mean, I was in the middle of working on so many things…”

Read: Pep talk from Elizabeth Acevado



If you worked with last week’s writing prompt, you may have pilfered a title and then created the first few lines for your own novel.

If a character is calling to you, spend some time working out who they are.



News from Elen – robots and classrooms

I’m missing the Dark Angels crew and experiences and wanted to share news since my disappearance a few years ago. I’m now a full-fledged English teacher at a state secondary school near where I live. I love it so, so much but am also bone tired.  I’ve written a Dark Angels style poem to try and capture what this big change has felt like called Sonnet with Classroom. This month has been highly exciting, because aside from persuading my sixth formers to speak Anglo-Saxon, my YA novel, Other Me about artificial intelligence has just been published and I was shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story award.

Other Me Elen Lewis Book Cover FrontOther Me Elen Lewis Book Cover Back

If you have teenagers or indeed anyone who likes a good YA novel, please consider buying Other Me. It’s available on Amazon or I can send you a discounted copy as I benefit from an author discount. I would also really appreciate any Amazon reviews.  Thank you 🙂


Sonnet in classroom


  1. Name change. No longer Elen. No longer Ellie. No longer Ms Lee Lewis. From now on, I will forever be known as Miss.
  2. New classroom, new school, new rules. Blazers on, shirts tucked in, no chewing gum.
  3. On average, I say, ‘tuck your shirt in’, 30 times, every day.
  4. ‘Tuck your shirt in, thank you,’ to be precise. Better to say thank you, rather than please, because it shows you mean business.
  5. Running and blowing a whistle at the same time is really tough. As is breaking up a fight between two boy-giants on the football pitch.
  6. An average day looks something like this. Staircase duty. Christmas Carol, Y11. Anglo-Saxon, Y13. Tutor time, Y11. Break duty, sportsfield. Macbeth, Y10. Animal Farm, Y9. Detective stories, Y8. Science Fiction Y7. Department Meeting. Planning/marking. Phonecalls home. Start again.
  7. Days go fast. Weeks go slow.
  8. So it turns out that nobody loves Shakespeare quite as much as I do.
  9. “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow”. Although, it might be that Macbeth wins them over.
  10. Quiet student stays behind class. ‘I just wanted to say, thank you Miss, thank you for your enthusiasm. We really appreciate it.’
  11. Winning as a teacher isn’t about the top set getting A*s.
  12. It’s about persuading John to come into school for two days a week instead of one, it’s about encouraging James to take off his coat in the classroom and open his English book, it’s about Jane asking if she can borrow a book from my bookshelf, it’s about Jack sitting still long enough to write three lines, it’s about a room of 16-year-olds knowing that, “solitary as an oyster” is a simile about Scrooge, so they might scrape their GCSE.
  13. It’s not easy. Covid cast a long, dark shadow over the lives, aspirations, development and education of our young people, our future. For as 16-year-old Tom said, “Miss, being a teenager is hard enough, and now we’ve got mocks…”
  14. So we get up and we start again. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Hoping to help our young people. Our future. Our hope. Our light.


Thanks so much lovely angels for your support.


Keep sending us your poems, writings, links and writerly whatnots that you’d like to share with the wider Dark Angels family.



26 Wordstock 2022

Don’t miss 26 Wordstock 2022, happening in London on Saturday 12th November. A great day to meet other writers, hear inspiring authors, join in workshops. Lots of Dark Angels will be there too. Find out more here, Don’t miss Wordstock 2022.


Writing With Constraints: New date – 30 November

One way to make writing easier is to make it harder. That sounds illogical, but putting some obstacles in the way of your writing can be a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

Whether you are a first timer, an experienced writer or all-round creative person, this will be an enjoyable and rewarding workshop. Find out more about the Writing with constraints workshop on the website.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings

For November, we have a few adjustments to the schedule for the weekly gatherings.

Nov 15: 7pm as normal
Nov 22: no gathering
Nov 29: 7pm as normal

Join us for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. Everyone is welcome; in fact, invite a friend along. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on.


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

From everyone at Dark Angels




Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash