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Archive for December, 2014

Caitlin Irwin – Livesonline

BSc (Hons) Psychology

Talking about Creative Writing

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Talking Creative Writing

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Last week I did some filming to tell you all why the English and Creative Writing course at the University of Sunderland is the best. I interviewed 6 people, although we haven’t managed to get it all done, we have three interviews for you to look at for now! We hope by the end of the week to have a compilation of them all. Last but not least a special thank you to Eddie Hewitt who helped film and in particular Matthew Donnachie who not only helped film but spent all day putting up with me as he edited. You can check out his very own blog here.

So here are the videos so far:


Spectral Visions Lunch

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Spectral Visions is a gothic conference held at the university in June. All of us involved have the wonderful title of ‘visionaries’, and we all went out for lunch as it’s christmas where poor Robert was made to do multiple speeches. So I took a few quick videos on my phone, here it is:

English and Creative Wring Blog

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

I’m always ranting and raving about how good my course is, so I decided I need to share it will the world. With the help of media students Matthew Donnachie and Eddie Hewitt, today we filmed some interviews to tell everyone why. 6 students were interviewed in total, and although I hate being on camera, especially more nerve racking with all the lights, it was a great experience to interview people (something I’ve never done before!). I love film, so it was nice to be able to work with likeminded people today. The university of Sunderland offers students so much, and with the use of facebook, and the universities own radio Spark, it’s very easy to get in contact with people who are willing to help you with any projects – whether you have experience or not. We’re hoping to edit all the footage next monday, so keep an eye out for the English and Creative video which will hopefully be around very shortly!

Some photos taken on the wonderful matthew’s phone:

filming2 filming filming 3



Caitlin x

The One Page Challenge

Monday, December 8th, 2014

My second love is film. Like writing, it’s a passion that I just couldn’t live without! I have some experience with making short films, and because of that, writing them. Screenwriting is great because it presents new challenges – and not just in the layout. (Anyone interested in screenwriting should get Celtx – amazing bit of software, and free). In scripts you don’t have the freedom of constant description of events, you can’t get long insights into a characters mind – this has to come through in other ways, such as the dialogue. But, even with the dialogue you have to try and keep it short, conversational, to make it seem natural if it were to be adapted – it’s very uncommon to see people on TV and film speak in large speeches unless its absolutely required (perhaps the type of character, or situation).  So you now have the challenge of trying to portray a story, but with less description, using conversational dialogue, and making sure that your character can still be understood. Most of my knowledge on screenwriting, comes from classes and a current TV Screenwriter also told me to beware of parenthesis, you should not need to constantly state how your character says things. Directors and actors will often interpret in their own way, anyway! This being said, like all writing, screenwriting is subjective. To use a well known phrase ‘each to their own’, your script is yours, and everybody has their own style. There is no comparing Quentin Tarantino’s writing style to Edgar Wright’s, and your writing style is unique to you. Tarantino uses a fair bit of description, and though its uncommon – it hasn’t seemed to cause him any problems.

So, what I actually came to post about. A while ago, I was challenged to write a one page script that could be adapted into a short film (1 page is about 1 minute film time). So, I sat down and in a surprisingly quick amount of time came up with something. So here it is. Now I challenge you to do the same, and post about it!

P.s I’d love to see other people’s work.

So here it is (click on images to see more clearly):


1pagechallenge11 1pagechallenge12


Caitlin x

Newcastle Eagles v Durham Wildcats

Monday, December 8th, 2014

On Friday night I went across to Newcastle to go and see their basketball team the Newcastle Eagles against the Durham Wildcats. It was a really good night, that I would recommend to anyone…although for a student it could be a little cheaper.


A Talk On Monsters

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you don’t come to one of Dr Alison Younger’s talks, you are truly missing out. On December 1st, at Café Culture in Newcastle, once again, we were all enlightened as Alison took centre stage in talking about the things that go bump in the night. In other words, monsters.

For century’s these creatures of the night have taken over the pages of our books, and scared us silly on our TV screens and according to Dr Alison Younger, they’re not leaving us any time soon. Because gothic sells, monsters sell.


But why do we enjoy them so much? The things that frighten us at night, it seems strange that we’ve formed an attachment to such creatures. But, when you look at the evidence, it’s overwhelming. In her talk last night, it was said that we need monsters to make us healthy. In her words “We love our monsters – we need them”.   We are joined together against some evil force, it gives us a sense that we are normal, because our monsters are against everything we know, they are everything we are not – or everything we shouldn’t be, at the least.

They are a true reflection of society’s anxieties, which is exactly why the face of the monster is ever-changing. We need only look at Shelley’s Frankenstein, to see how societies fears are reflected in the creatures we create. In a time where science was quickly advancing, not to long before the first surgical transplants – we get Frankenstein’s creature. Made from being put together by various people, the fears of people losing their humanity, of losing what makes them human, is reflected in the very face of this monster. He is totally unacceptable, scapegoated by all of society. But we all know who the real monster is in this gothic-tale.

If we go back further, to the medieval period, we see monsters that are made through spiritual damnation. Society’s fear of the all mighty God was ripe, and this is undoubtedly reflected in their own monsters.  This, is why monsters are so important. Dr Alison Younger claimed “we can learn about the fears, interests and anxieties of that culture through the monster”, and I whole heartedly believe her – and not just because puts on a great talk. It was very often a woman’s fault we saw these damned, evil, creatures, whether they had conceived at the wrong time in their cycle and given birth to a red-head who would emit poisonous fumes from their eyes (which is a comical concept now) or whether a witch had cursed a poor man to be a werewolf – for me, this only shows their fears of female sexuality. This leads to the femme fatale, a seductive woman, who can more often than not be deadly. We can see examples of the femme fatale in poetry, such a Keats’ ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’. The message being, avoid these sexually confident women, they are monsters, and could be the death of you – literally.

The femme fatale is just an example of one our human monsters, and these, according to Alison, are the ones that scare us the most. “They make us look at ourselves, they are a profound mirror”, “They are everything we’d like to do, but we daren’t”, – again, I completely agree. My favourite example of a monster like this is Dorian Gray, he shows societies fears of sin, sexual promiscuity, – basically, a whole host of crimes. But, he, looks just like us – he is human, and this is one the reasons he is so dangerous. We have seen a movement away from abhorrent looking monsters to monsters which have become attractive, in film Dracula has become a lover, in twilight, vampires sparkle.  Our monsters are no longer ugly creatures of the night; they walk with us, talk with us, and even live with us. It was predicted last night, we may see a wave of novels about infections spreading, a reflection of the ebola crisis. We will may even see a return to foreign monsters (such as Dracula), those not from our culture, mirroring the current immigration fears (although they are fears I personally don’t understand, not the point). Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, monsters are not going away, they will continue to plague us and we shall continue to embrace them.

If you are interested in hearing more about Dr Alison Younger’s talk, you can here the entire thing here:


The talk was amazing – as expected. Personally I was able to learn a few things, and some new areas I would like to research. For me, the talk was particularly beneficial as in my writing I am interested in exploring how monsters live along side us, and how they are created – nature versus nurture.

After the talk we went down to Newcastle’s beautiful Castle Keep to take some photos, and then to the pub. The little society that has been created, thanks to University of Sunderland’s ‘Spectral Visions’, and Cafe Culture, who allow us to put on talks such as this, is a wonderful one. It’s a place were discussion and debate is encouraged, and everyone is accepted. If you ever get the opportunity, I strongly recommend you get involved.


Caitlin x


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