Cirque Du Art

The Art of Bronwyn Jensen Cain Murphy

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A blog for art, be it original or fan art, along with other art related posts. Click the links below to navigate.


So… I attempted to make a tutorial on how I color… ; ~; And I thought it would be so easy, but I realize that this would be so much easier to understand if I explained color theory in here too?? So like, this might only help people who know what colors to blend when?

Really tho, stay away from greys, and try really hard to work with more saturated colors and fun schemes!! 

I hope this helps someone cause I felt like a poop when I got halfway through making it lol! Ahhhhh

Dear internet,







Please give me all the advice you have on writing cover letters. Like, the closer you can get to literally just writing a cover letter for me, the better. Ok bye.

This is how I did the one for my librarian position.  I hope it helps.

Dear Person Hiring for this Job,

I am writing to ask you to consider me for X position.  This is a paragraph about why I want to do X position in general.  It includes at least one personal detail and at least one job skill I consider a particular strength.  It argues that I am passionate about this career.  It is not long.

I have had the opportunity to gain experience in this job by - paragraph about my work or study experience.  It should go from most recent experience back.  Include some details about your responsibilities/achievements in your most recent or most important positions.  If you have mostly study experience, give more detail about what exactly you studied.  If you shadowed people, mention that.  If your work experience is largely unrelated, try to shoehorn some of it in (e.g. I gained experience working with people by).  You can supplement with relevant hobbies.  (But if you do have recent, relevant work experience, you should largely be detailing that.  Only embroider the other stuff if you need to flesh it out.)  This should be the longest paragraph.

I hope you will consider allowing me to do X thing at your company.  This is a few sentences about why I want to work at your company in particular and what I think I could bring.  Try to mention at least one detail from the company website, so they know you visited it.  This is a short paragraph that parallels the first one.

Thank you very much for your time and attention.


Person You Would Be a Fool Not to At Least Interview

oh my god thank you this is relevant to current interests

Two other points, to challenge what’s being said above a little:

1) Remember that the person reading this cover letter wants to know how you can contribute to the company. Not how excited you are about the position: it’s all about what they gain. Try framing the whole thing in that sense — “You would gain my X awesome skill that would help you Y with your mission.” “Here’s why I’m awesome and a great fit for making your company go better.”

2) At the end, ask for the interview. “I am available at PHONE NUMBER at your convenience. I look forward to speaking with you about this great opportunity soon.” Maybe even say you’ll be following up at a specific time and date. Ask for the job. People respond to that, and it’s a good way to fake confidence until you make it. Ask for the job.

Okay, three points. People reading cover letters get SO BORED going through them. Think about starting off with a story that relates to why you’re interested in the job, or that demonstrates a skill or a strong interest that would make you a good candidate. Be memorable — people remember stories, even (maybe especially) very little ones.

*hoards advice*

Reiterating the interesting and memorable bit

i always include a quirky story in my cover letters that makes me sound humorous, reasonable, and likeable.

And I try to do the same thing in my interviews. I know interviews are about selling yourself to the company, but some of the most successful interviews I’ve ever had are ones where I basically get the person interviewing me talking about themselves, and their dreams, and what they want to do with their life, and how they ended up where they are

and those things give you things to connect on and make you memorable to the employer so yeah, be professional, but be real

How to Write a Cover Letter Someone Will Actually Read


Okay, so when applying for jobs, you’re generally going to need 4 things: 1) a completed application, 2) your resume, 3) a cover letter, and 4) a list of references. The application you need to do on your own and it’s just filling in boxes, you can handle that. Resumes I’ve already covered! Now, it’s on to the joy absolute gut-wrenching hell that is writing a cover letter.

Read More

How to Grow the Fuck Up: Guides to Life


I know it can be a nightmare to dig through our tags and see all those asks and not the guides. So here is a handy-dandy list of all our “official” posts (plus a list of relevant asks at the end).




Job Hunting

Life Skills


Asks I’ll Probably Need to Refer People to Later

[Note: This post will be updated as new guides are written.]





SCRIVENER is an incredibly functional, user-friendly long-form writing platform that makes organizing novels a cinch. These screens (they have captions, so click on them) are just a basic overview of how to use the program. A few more notes:

  • I use 2-3 Scene documents per chapter folder and write about 2,000 words a chapter (I write Young Adult.)
  • You can color code & set yourself word count goals. Tutorial here.
  • The Literature & Latte site provides a very nice 30 day trial for Scrivener (I recommend trying it out during NANOWRIMO because if you win, a discount for downloading the program is often included as a prize! It’s already pretty affordable but who doesn’t love coupons? Also, to extend your trial time you can just do what I did and never close it, it only ticks down the day by how many times you open and close it. But really, buy it.)
  • It saves everything in one neat and tidy project file (when you save it, it creates a folder wherever you name the file path. IE: MY DOCUMENTS —> (TITLE OF YOUR BOOK FOLDER): then there will be a file that simply says “PROJECT” and that’s it!
  • Option to compile in multiple formats.
  • Initially developed for Mac, has a Windows version now.
  • Has features to compare word counts from file to file, track the usage of key words/phrases, and built in character development templates. You can even insert pictures into your documents.

I will have an actual writing-based post tomorrow. This is what I use for writing novels and it’s made it so much easier.



Lemme tell y’all about Scrivener

this piece of writing genius was set down on earth for people like me and you

here are some other things it does/you can do with it

- it is really affordable, they’re not lying, and the NaNo discount makes it even better

- it autosaves every few seconds

- IT AUTOSAVES say goodbye to the ‘shit my computer crashed and I forgot to save my document before it did’

-want to write a scene a different way? make another Scene file and write it a different way

- you can also move files around freely, so if you’re not sure what scene you’re starting with or whatev you can change it all you like

- and Trash is just another folder, so if you want back something you put in the Trash earlier you just click and drag it back

- basically Scrivener is a blessing ok you should get your hands on it ASAP


All New & Revised: On Word Counts and Novel Length


(Originally published at The Swivet)

by Colleen Lindsay


Although I’m no longer an agent, I still work with writers and I find that this post is one of the most highly-trafficked entries on my blog. Information on suggested word counts for fiction seems to be tough thing to find online so I decided to not only leave this post up here, but to revise and expand it as needed. 

I sat down recently with several fiction editors and hammered out a more comprehensive list of suggested word counts by genre & sub-genre. As you read through this, keep in mind three important things: 1.) these are suggested word counts; rules get broken all the time; 2.) these suggested word counts will most often apply to debut writers; successfully published authors are the ones who end up breaking the rules, and 3.) if you are planning to e-publish only, and your book will never be printed out on actual paper, these guidelines aren’t nearly as important.

Something I saw a lot in queries as an agent were word counts that exceeded 100k. Often, a manuscript exceeded this by a considerable amount: I’ve seen word counts of 140k, 160k and one writer actually told me about a YA manuscript he’d written that was 188k.

Somewhere out there a myth developed - especially amongst science fiction and fantasy writers - that a higher word count was better. Writers see big fat fantasies on the shelf and think that they have to write a book just as hefty to get published. And sometimes a writer just writes a long book because they aren’t yet a very good writer. Good writers learn how to pare a manuscript down to its most essential elements, carving away the word count fat that marks so many beginning writers. And the fact of the matter is, most of those “big fat fantasy” books you see on the shelf actually only have a word count of about 100k to 120k.

The exceptions are usually authors who’ve already had an established track record of sales with previous - shorter - books, like George R.R. Martin. And, yes, once in a great while you will see an incredibly long debut novel. But the writing has to be absolutely stellar; knock-down, drag-out, kick-you-in-the-teeth amazing. (A good example is Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, which clocks in at just about 240,000 words.)

And I should also point out here that the longer a successful writer has been with a publishing house and the more actual dollars that author brings to the house (and the bigger that author’s advances get), the more clout that author may have regarding being able to keep his or her novel intact, without taking advantage of the editorial guidance being offered. And that is never a good thing for the book. Editors exist for a damned good reason, and no author is ever such a fabulous writer that a good editor can’t find things to make better in his or her manuscript.

There was a time about ten or so years ago when bigger word counts were the norm and not the exception. Like everything, the book industry goes through trends. But these days, editors of adult fiction - even editors of epic fantasy - squirm a little when presented with a manuscript that runs over 110k words. Books with a higher page count cost more to physically produce, resulting in a higher per-book manufacturing cost, meaning even more copies will need to be sold to make the estimated P&L work.

Publishers want to make money; bookstores want to make money. Do the math.

When you search around the Internet for information on word counts, you get a lot of conflicting information, some of it just plain wrong, and often this information is coming from sources that would appear reputable to a writer who didn’t know any better. One article I read last week that was posted online at a major writing magazine actually insists that the average novel (non-genre) is 150,000 words. I have no idea where the writer of the article got his or her information, but that’s simply untrue. An average novel length is between 80k and 100k, again, depending upon the genre.

Word counts for different kinds of novels vary, but there is are general rules of thumb for fiction that a writer can use when trying to figure out just how long is too long. For the purposes of this post, I’m only talking about YA, middle-grade and adult fiction here. And bear in mind that there are always exceptions, but good general rules of thumb would be as follows:

middle grade fiction = Anywhere from 25k to 40k, with the average at 35k
YA fiction = For mainstream YA, anywhere from about 45k to 80k; paranormal YA or YA fantasy can occasionally run as high as 120k but editors would prefer to see them stay below 100k. The second or third in a particularly bestselling series can go even higher. But it shouldn’t be word count for the sake of word count.

paranormal romance = 85k to 100k

romance = 85k to 100k

category romance = 55k to 75k

cozy mysteries = 65k to 90k

= 80k to 100k

= 80k to 100k (Keep in mind that almost no editors are buying Westerns these days.)

mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction
 = A newer category of light paranormal mysteries and hobby mysteries clock in at about 75k to 90k. Historical mysteries and noir can be a bit shorter, at 80k to 100k. Most other mystery/thriller/crime fiction falls right around the 90k to 100k mark.

mainstream/commercial fiction/thrillers = Depending upon the kind of fiction, this can vary: chick lit runs anywhere from 80k word to 100k words; literary fiction can run as high as 120k but lately there’s been a trend toward more spare and elegant literary novels as short as 65k. Anything under 50k is usually considered a novella, which isn’t something agents or editors ever want to see unless the editor has commissioned a short story collection. (Agent Kristin Nelson has a good post about writers querying about manuscripts that are too short.)

science fiction & fantasy = Here’s where most writers seem to have problems. Most editors I’ve spoken to recently at major SF/F houses want books that fall into the higher end of the adult fiction you see above; a few of them told me that 100k words is the ideal manuscript size for good space opera or fantasy. For a truly spectacular epic fantasy, some editors will consider manuscripts over 120k but it would have to be something extraordinary. I know at least one editor I know likes his fantasy big and fat and around 180k. But he doesn’t buy a lot at that size; it has to be astounding. (Read: Doesn’t need much editing.) And regardless of the size, an editor will expect the author to to be able to pare it down even further before publication. To make this all a little easier, I broke it down even further below:

—-> hard sf = 90k to 110k
—-> space opera = 90k to 120k
—-> epic/high/traditional/historical fantasy = 90k to 120k
—-> contemporary fantasy = 90k to 100k
—-> romantic SF = 85k to 100k
—-> urban fantasy = 90k to 100k
—-> new weird = 85k to 110k
—-> slipstream = 80k to 100k
—-> comic fantasy = 80k to 100k
—-> everything else = 90k to 100k

Editors will often make exceptions for sequels, by the way. Notice that the page count in both J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series gets progressively higher. But even authors who have been published for years and should know better will routinely turn in manuscripts that exceed the editor’s requested length by 30k to 50k words, which inevitably means more work for that author because editors don’t back down. If a contract calls for a book that is 100k words and you turn in one that is 130k, expect to go back and find a way to shave 30k words off that puppy before your manuscript is accepted.

Remember that part of the payout schedule of an author’s advance often dangles on that one important word: acceptance.

I cannot stress highly enough that there are always exceptions to every rule, especially in SF/F. Jacqueline Carey and Peter F. Hamilton, among others, have proven this quite successfully. If an agent finds a truly outstanding book that runs in the 200k range (yes, it happens!), he or she may advise your cutting the manuscript into two books to make life easier for everyone. But for a debut novelist who is trying to catch the eye of an agent or editor for the first time? Err on the side of caution with your word count.



its been a while since I’ve done anything with tutorials ahhh also my explanations started to die out because I don’t have a lot to say to describe each one. If this helps you, I’m glad. But I would say to just springboard from this! get loose with your poses and have fuuuuun



This post was inspired by years and years of watching movies, series, and fanfics royally and hilariously fuck up the use of names in the Russian language, coming to the point where, if I see another pair of best buddies call each other by full name, I will shoot something, I swear to God.

There are 3 ways people in Russia address each other, and they denote different levels of formality, and the relationship between the speakers. You should know this stuff if you wanna write anything that includes Russian people talking to each other, because if you get it wrong, it will be, alternatively, hilarious or cringe-worthy. I have seen soo much of this in fanfic it’s not funny anymore. So read up y’all!

1. Name + Patronymic.

A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a surname based on the given name of one’s father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. (thank you, Wikipedia!) A patronymic is not a middle name. Russian people don’t have middle names, period. But we all have patronymics!

Use: formal

Used towards: your teacher, your big boss, a senior citizen with whom you don’t have a close relationship (say, your classmate’s grandma), your doctor, any kind of professor or scholar when you address them formally, a client when you’re in the service industry/work with people (not always, but very often).

Example: Ivan Petrovich, Sergey Vladimirovich, Anna Anatolyevna, Maria Sergeevna, etc

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A Visual Dictionary of Tops
More Visual Glossaries: Backpacks / Bags / Bra Types / Hats / Belt knots / Coats / Collars / Darts / Dress Shapes / Dress Silhouettes / Eyeglass frames / Eyeliner Strokes / Hangers / Harem Pants / Heels / Nail shapes / Necklaces / Necklines /  Puffy Sleeves / Shoes / Shorts / Silhouettes / Skirts / Tartans / Vintage Hats / Waistlines / Wool
high resolution »


A Visual Dictionary of Tops

More Visual Glossaries: Backpacks / Bags / Bra Types / HatsBelt knots / CoatsCollarsDarts / Dress Shapes / Dress Silhouettes / Eyeglass frames / Eyeliner Strokes / Hangers / Harem PantsHeelsNail shapes / NecklacesNecklinesPuffy SleevesShoes / ShortsSilhouettes / SkirtsTartans / Vintage Hats / Waistlines / Wool


The problems of writing



  • Having a Beginning
  • Having an Ending

And most importantly:



Now with useful links.

(Source: pitchblack-the-nightmare-king)