Writing prompt: Fear

“Can you pretty please get rid of the human-sized spider in the living room?” I begged as we climbed into bed together.

He sighed, “all you need to do is get a cup and a bit of paper and chuck it outside. I also highly doubt that it’s human sized.”

“It was!” I sat up against the pillow gesturing how big the spider was with my hands, “its body may not have been much but it’s legs extended to about this big.” I admit, I was probably exaggerating slightly with my hands but I didn’t care, I wanted the creature gone.

“I can’t just get rid of it anyway, I’ve tried to go near it with a glass but I get so shaky and” I shuddered, “what if I miss? What if it drops in my hair, or on my arm?”
“Then you just brush it off.” He said sleepily, his back facing me.

“Honestly, what’s the worst that could happen? It can’t kill you, we don’t live in Australia.” He mumbled.

“It could touch me!” I shuddered again.

“Anyway, I know it’s an irrational fear. I know it can’t actually hurt me but it’s the anticipation that kills me, like balloons about to pop. Ugh! That’s the worst.”

I looked over to my partner all wrapped up in the sheets and tucked the cotton around the bare bit of back he had exposed to the elements. How could he be so calm at a time like this? When a spider could be roaming free in our apartment at this very moment!

“Do you have any fears?” I asked, “you don’t seem to be afraid of anything.”

If I knew he wasn’t afraid of creatures in the night then I could use him as a protective barrier. Maybe the spider would get him first.

It took him a moment to answer.

“Fish. I don’t like fish.”

Smiling I curled in the sheets next to him and drifted off to sleep. The spider could be dealt with tomorrow.


Graphic Design: A Summary


Definition : Graphic Designnoun “the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books.” (Ripped straight from Google itself).

So you want to be a Graphic designer? Me too, hence the blog post! Anyway, through my studies at Norwich University of the Arts I believe that the basic comprehension of key design practices is integral to the success of a creative so I have dipped my toe quite gently into the surface of the design pool in the following exploration.

Firstly, you’re going to need an understanding of colour theory. A great blog post, other than this one, can be found here and is probably far more comprehensive than I could ever attempt. Basic summary: Contrasting colours are a great way to make a statement.

Secondly, since your design work will be aimed towards the commercial word I.e Magazines, adverts, etc, it is a good idea to get a firm grasp of composition: Rule of Thirds, where to draw your focus, etc. Here‘s another good article that I didn’t write.

It wouldn’t be an article about graphic design if I did not include any graphic design work so I have put a few of my favourite links below.

Maxime Quoilin

Katsuhiko Kuwamoto


The most important tip to remember is that memorable art is usually the most striking, edgy and stands for something. Rarely does an artist sit on the fence. Your graphic design work should be asking questions without having to put the words on the page.

Another key part of Graphic designing is the typography. Here is a glossary of helpful terms. Who knew there were so many parts to a letter!

There are plenty of aspects to the design world but I hope that by understanding these few core components we can build a solid base to work up from. I wish you all the best in your ventures!


Written by Kirsty Allen on

Ayoade on Ayoade: a review

As a fan of TV programs like the Mighty Boosh and the IT Crowd it was probably inevitable that I pick up Richard Ayoade’s biography which I can’t seem to put down- it seems someone has unfortunately glued my hands to the cover.

From the opening page I had found myself hooked, which is unusual as I normally find myself skipping over the messy acknowledgments and introductions, wanting to get to the juicy bits. ‘Ayoade on Ayoade: a cinematic odyssey’ had me giggling to myself in the middle of a particularly full park, reading the funniest extracts to my disinterested partner who had rolled his eyes and continued to sun himself.

As I read further into the self proclaimed portrait of Ayoade’s life I began to really appreciate his use of footnotes which happily accommodated the third person perspective he had chosen to write in. It was like the ramblings of a coherent madman and I adored it.

His personal timeline is well worth the £9.99 price tag alone: his angry phase in 2004, ‘the age of mystery’ that spanned between 1986 and 1990 and his profound adoration for ‘N Sync. Without sounding like a broken record, Richard’s writing encompasses all my favourite things- sarcasm, adventure and just a dash of mystery, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from one page to the next. It was fresh and exciting and I will be highly recommending it to anybody willing to listen.

Richard, if you’re reading this, please do a handstand, I have a fizzy cola bottle waiting for you.


Is literature a dying art?

I recently read an article in the guardian that suggested that literature is a dying art and it got me wondering about the topic of English language in fiction. Now, controversial opinion alert, I’m not a huge fan of literary classics- Catcher in the rye, Ethan Frome, To kill a mockingbird- and I have a sneaking suspicion that it was due to them all having one thing in common, they were all based on reality, rather than the escapism I am after when I pick up a novel. Heavy subjects such as racism and sexism were laid thick, as if to be obvious about a subject matter was to be deemed intellectual. Maybe I am just too harsh a critic, or maybe my brain doesn’t span far enough to look past the dreary storylines and find comfort in the metaphors and similes of a time long since past but I prefer modern novels, novels that tell a story of lost worlds, romance and fantasy.  
Every book on writing I’ve ever had the privilege of opening has explained that to be able to write is to be able to tell a story, so what does it matter if it’s written badly? Obviously I’m not talking unedited stories from independent online authors, although I have come across a few diamonds in the rough, but as long as you can tell a story, with a beginning, middle and end, with plenty of conflict and character development then who’s to say that isn’t literature?

The full definition of literature, according to merriam-webster is: “writings in prose or verse, especially: writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest”. So literature is a well constructed piece of writing which holds lasting interest. I’m starting to see why the classics were deemed literary but to say it is dying out seems a tad extreme, surely, as society changes our eye for literary classics adapt to suit? To further this idea, it seems as if it is these classics, as I have listed above, are becoming outdated, and if anything, losing their literary status. This poses a link to my next question, how long does a prose have to be popular before it is deemed a literary classic?

To me novels like the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey aren’t literature. They are popular due to the shock factor and die out once the hype has disappeared. It may be that novels with re readable content, great stories and lengthy hype duration may be more of a candidate for this status. Again, there’s the possibility that I’m being presumptuous and overly expressing my dislike for the novel, who’s to say that, going by my previous argument, that this novel, due to it’s popularity, may have literary status in the future?

Another article I read recently, again from the guardian, was stating how children are taught how to write stories using the correct amount of adverbs, adjectives and basically how to churn out mechanical stories, arguably sucking the life out of imagination. It made me wonder: why do grown ups actually write stories? The answer I came up with was simple, they want to have fun. The best way to have fun with writing? Literally, no pun intended, throw words on a page and see what happens, visualise the story and write. Although, in direct comparison to this, the article read that in order to break the rules one must first know the rules, but how much do you need to know in order to write a successful prose?

There is always the possibility that I am discrediting what it means to be a literary author to justify my own writing but if I am happy reading current popular novels and skipping the literary classics as most of the general population tend to do, would writing a literary classic entail a doomed existence as a writer? Or in a hundred years time when we contemplate the literary geniuses of the 21st century, will we consider popular fiction from today?


Terrible song references, Dystopian fiction and the novel that appeared in a dream.

In practically every book on writing there’s a section that tells you to write every day, so here I am, writing at 7.30 (!) on a Wednesday morning to keep the creative part of my brain active.

For the first part of my novel I wrote the entire draft in two weeks, in every spare moment I had: the twenty minutes before I left for work in the morning, the couple of hours after dinner in the evening. It was an awful piece of writing but I enjoyed myself. But what made me so creative? I felt a tad nostalgic today and so I had a look backwards for an explanation.

I grew up in a small quaint marine village named Tollesbury. As a country girl, born and raised (I’m desperately trying not to sing the lyrics to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) I spent most of my childhood reading anything I could get my hands on. Every summer the mobile library would visit the village and the school children would be carted over the road in groups, some eager, some not so much, to explore this tiny van for something that enticed their little beady eyes. It was in this van that I would nearly always participate in the summer book challenge where, in six weeks, the child was expected to read six books to win a DVD or CD to rent.

Skip ten years ahead and I was reading in university, where reading was deemed paramount to success, only the books were boring and far too heavy for me to actually enjoy. I still enjoyed young adult books, dystopian fiction about female protagonists, something that was very much frowned upon as an educated adult. Although, somehow Fifty Shades of Grey was deemed better? That’s an argument for another time.

Meanwhile, I was studying animation and the art of storytelling. Everything I saw was broken down into frames, camera angles and storylines. I learnt about archetypes, Propp’s and Todorov’s theory and suddenly everything began to form this complex formula for success.

It’s 2016 and real life had become monotonous and repetitive, so I decided to get lost in a story, one that had spanned from an intricate dream.

I’d had an idea roaming around my mind for a while, one that incorporated nearly every paranormal TV series, film and book I’d ever laid my eyes on. One day, after a particularly vivid dream about a particular plot line, I actually plucked up the courage to speak to my partner about the story my bizarre little brain had conjured up.

Thrilled that I was doing something other than moping around the flat he helped me develop the idea, bringing my characters to life with incredible back stories and possible future storylines. Together, in one afternoon, we nearly filled my phone memory with notes and had to revert to old school pen and paper just to get the ideas documented before it was lost to the abyss of forgotten plot lines.

Two weeks later and here I am, holding the first draft which is a huge achievement. Now all I have left to do is edit my work, which my friends Louise, Lucy and Charlotte have agreed to scrutinise once I’m ready to be vulnerable.
It’s exciting and a little nerve-racking but I think eventually, if I keep my mind focused, I may actually finish this novel!