WORK-IN-PROGRESS GROUP COACHING 

Introducing work-in-progress group coaching for historical fiction writers…

Our work-in-progress group coaching programme for historical fiction writers combines critiques and guidance from expert tutors with feedback and support from a group of fellow historical fiction writers. It accommodates a range of experience, from writers who are just starting on their first novel to those who have already been published.

The programme takes place online, with everyone participating remotely. It’s a rolling programme, with new intakes twice a year, in the spring and autumn. This means that you can work at your own pace and leave the programme once you’ve achieved what you set out to do, however many (or few) months that takes.

Applications for the next intake are opening in spring 2022. In the meantime, we encourage you to join the waiting list. You’ll then be the first to know the exact dates for the next round, and we’ll give you advance notice before applications open.

Why group coaching?

Writing can be a challenging and often isolating experience; group coaching means you won’t have to face any problems alone, and there will always be someone who’s been through the same struggles. At the same time, it enables you to benefit from expert feedback and guidance while also providing the accountability you need to make progress on your manuscript.

Coaching helps you to resolve issues earlier on in the writing process so that you avoid wasting time, effort, and money dealing with them later on. Equally, it can give you confirmation that you’re on the right track without having to spend months or years on a manuscript before anyone else sees it. Above all, it allows you to learn as you write, giving you access to resources, feedback, and troubleshooting all in one place.

Key features

Tutor critiques

Every month, you’ll submit up to 5000 words of your writing. You will be guaranteed a critique from of our expert tutors every three months.

The critique will include margin comments on your work, together with a substantive report. They will be shared with the wider group so that everyone can learn together.

Peer critiques

Every month, your writing submission will be critiqued by two other group participants. In return, you’ll critique two submissions yourself. You’ll do this by adding margin comments and a summary of your impressions at the end. 

As well as being a fair exchange, you’ll find the process of critiquing other people’s writing a useful learning exercise.

Learning

There will be dedicated tutorial videos and accompanying PDFs (if you don’t like video) covering the following topics: 1) the fundamentals of language, 2) viewpoint, voice, and tense, 3) setting, 4) plot, 5) structure and pacing, and 6) characterisation. Each topic will have its own module with individual lectures. Modules are released one per month in the first six months of the programme.

Community

You will be invited to join our private Facebook group, in which you can interact with everyone else who is participating in the programme. Within this group, you’ll receive direct access to the lead tutor via twice-monthly Q&A sessions, along with the opportunity to interact with other writers and take part in discussions on a wealth of writing topics and all things historical fiction.

Zoom socials

Every six months, join your fellow participants for a Zoom social. These are hour-long events in which participants can discuss a set topic or take part in a quiz, game, or other activity. Participation is entirely optional.

Special guest Q&As

We will host a special guest Q&A session every three months, featuring a published author of historical fiction or an industry guest such as a literary agent, publisher, or expert book marketer.

Accountability

Once a month, you’ll be invited to update the group on your writing progress, thereby boosting accountability and encouraging you to achieve your writing goals. Celebrate each milestone on your journey to completing your novel, and get support from your peers when things don’t go to plan.

One-to-one coaching session

After twelve months, you will have the option of a one-to-one thirty-minute coaching session with the lead tutor via video call. They will answer any questions you may have and help you consider the next steps on your writing journey. Alternatively, you can opt to receive one-to-one advice over email if you prefer.

Is it for me?

This programme is for you if…

You’re a historical fiction writer

We accept most subgenres and forms, including action/adventure, thriller, mystery, romance, drama, epic, biographical, time-slip, dual timeline, and others. Consult the FAQ for more details.

You’re currently working on a historical novel

You can be at any stage. You might be about to start writing, you might be halfway through, or you might be editing your first draft.

This programme is for you even if especially if…

You’re a first-time writer

There’s no need to be shy if you’re a first-time writer. The purpose of the programme is to foster learning and growth, and the group will contain a mixture of different levels of experience and skills.

You’re an experienced writer

Proficient writers can benefit from a supportive group environment while refreshing their knowledge and skills. You may have already been published, and you may have been writing for some time. If so, you’re very welcome.

You’ve been working on your novel for years

Great! It doesn’t matter if this is the first or the tenth iteration of your novel. The programme can help you gain a new perspective on your work and overcome the hurdles you’ve been facing.

Key points

How long does the programme last?

Everybody works at a different pace when completing a novel. Some writers can do it in six months, whereas others might take twelve months or longer. For that reason, this is a rolling programme – you can leave at any time. Simply cancel your monthly subscription at the click of a button via your account page on our website, no questions asked.

When can I join the programme?

We open for applications twice a year, in the spring and autumn.

Where does it take place?

It’s an online programme. You’ll interact with your group in a private Facebook group. You’ll upload your writing submissions to a secure Google Drive folder, and you’ll access the lectures online as well.

Can I participate from anywhere in the world?

You can participate if you are resident in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or any EU country.

How many writers will there be in the group?

The size of the group will vary with each new intake. For the purposes of carrying out peer critiques, you’ll work within a small sub-group of eight to ten members, so that you can become familiar with one another’s work and create close connections with writers who, where possible, are working on similar projects to you. You will also be invited to join our private Facebook group, in which you can interact with everyone else who is participating in the programme.

How do the submissions work?

You’ll submit up to 5000 words of your writing each month. This is the maximum amount you can submit, but you can submit less if you like. The minimum submission is 1000 words. You don’t have to submit new writing every month, though. You can alternatively submit writing that you’ve edited after submitting it in a previous month.

How do I apply?

You can apply by submitting 1) a brief blurb outlining the premise of your novel (a full synopsis is not necessary), and 2) a writing sample of 1000 words. The sample can be from your current project or from a previous one, but it must be fiction. When applications are open, you’ll be able to apply via the buttons on this page.

What happens if I change my mind?

We’re so confident you’ll love the programme that we offer a one-month refund guarantee. If you decide the programme isn’t for you, simply cancel at any time during the first month and we’ll refund any fees you have paid in full, no questions asked. This allows you to give the programme a try with zero risk. If you cancel after the first month, you will pay for the duration of the current month, but we’ll refund any payment you’ve made for the following month, and you won’t have to pay for any subsequent months.

Schedule

Monthly

Week one

Share your monthly writing goal with the group and update us on your progress.

8th of month

The monthly learning module is published.

Week two

Q&A session with the lead tutor.

19th of month

The deadline for submitting your writing.

Week three

Group discussion on a set writing topic.

Week four

Q&A session with the lead tutor.

Last day of month

The deadline for submitting your peer critiques.

Every three months

Special guest Q&A session, featuring a published author of historical fiction or an industry guest such as a literary agent, publisher, or expert book marketer.

Every six months

Join your fellow participants and lead tutor for a Zoom social.

Every twelve months

One-to-one thirty-minute coaching session with the lead tutor via video call – or receive one-to-one advice over email.

Pricing

Select your country for the correct pricing and currency (USD, GBP, or EUR)

$174.00 USD per month

After six continuous months on the programme, you’ll be rewarded with 5% off your monthly subscription.

After twelve continuous months, you will receive 10% off your monthly subscription.

Meet your tutors

Rachel Smith

Rachel Smith

Lead tutor

Kahina Necaise

Kahina Necaise

Assistant tutor

Pippa Brush Chappell

Pippa Brush Chappell

Assistant tutor

Rebecca Ferrier

Rebecca Ferrier

Assistant tutor

Testimonials

“I’ve had an excellent experience with The History Quill’s group coaching programme. The team’s expert and very detailed feedback has sharpened my writing and given me a much-needed sense of direction for my novel. The critiques from fellow writers have provided me with some superb advice and fresh insights into my writing. The learning materials are of a very high quality, and the structure of the programme is clear and logical. Regular reminders from the lead tutor have helped me to keep on track, and the deadlines for submitting work have meant that my writing output has increased. I thoroughly recommend this online programme to my fellow historical fiction writers.”

Barbara Allan

“As a first-time author, I was excited to join a group coaching programme focused on historical fiction writing and led by an editor specializing in the genre. The group couldn’t have been more welcoming and supportive. The regular critiques and learning modules gave me the extra tools and knowledge I needed to re-think aspects of my story that were causing me difficulty, and I’m now writing with renewed confidence, motivation, and enjoyment.”

Kelly Scarborough

“After self-publishing my first novel and having the sequel picked up by a traditional publisher, I was keen to write a third to take the series forward. Inevitably, life got in the way and progress was slow, so I joined The History Quill’s group coaching programme with the aim of getting back on track. The accountability and support have given me a much-needed lift, helping me put in the time and effort necessary to boost my word count. The critiques, Q&As, and learning modules have also helped broaden my understanding of story craft and improve my writing as I go along.”

Jonathan Hopkins

“Before I joined The History Quill’s group coaching programme, I had started four different novels but never finished, finding it difficult to transition from short stories and poetry to a much longer piece of work. But I’m delighted to say the programme has been transformative for me. I find the writing deadlines extremely motivating and strive to craft my 5,000 words carefully each month for review. The group environment really helps to build accountability, and the critiques have been extremely helpful for enhancing the quality of my writing, particularly drawing attention to things I probably never would have noticed by myself. For the first time, I’m on course to complete a full novel.” 

Anni Telford

Lecture preview

Frequently asked questions

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Which sub-genres and forms will you accept?

The programme is designed for people who are writing historical novels. Applicants who are writing novellas or short stories will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Time-slips and dual timelines (including where a portion of the story takes place in the modern day) are both welcome. Most sub-genres will be accepted, including action/adventure, thriller, mystery, romance, drama, biographical, epic, and many others.

Applications from historical fantasy writers are welcome and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The same goes for YA writers and children’s historical fiction writers. Erotic fiction will not be accepted.

We reserve the right to make other exclusions on a case-by-case basis. If you’re not sure whether your sub-genre/form is a good fit, don’t hesitate to email us and ask.

Are there any other eligibility requirements?

Yes. The programme is carried out in English, so you’ll need to be able to write and communicate proficiently in English. You’ll also need to be at least 18 years old and over – as is the case for all of our programmes and services.

What if I haven't started my novel? What if it's finished and I'm editing it?

As long as you’re expecting to work on your novel for the duration of your time on the programme, this is a good fit for you. Beyond that, it doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working on it previously.

Do you accept applications from anywhere in the world?

You can apply and participate in the programme if you are resident in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or any EU country. If you are resident elsewhere, you are welcome to get in touch via email and register your interest as we hope to open up to other countries in the future.

When will applications open?

Applications for the next intake will open in spring 2022.

Which tutors will critique my work?

The lead tutor and assistant tutors will divide the critiques between them according to a timetable worked out in advance. Your critiques may come from the same tutor or from different tutors. If you wish to be paired with a particular tutor, please let us know in advance and we shall do our best to arrange it.

Do we have to use Facebook?

Yes. Facebook is the best tool for facilitating communication within the group. If you have privacy concerns, you can control your privacy settings to make sure you don’t share anything you don’t want to. The Facebook group will be private, so no one else can join or see who is a member.

How will we share our writing?

You’ll upload your writing to a secure Google Drive folder that only your group can view. To access it, you’ll need to have a Google account. If you don’t have one already, don’t worry. We’ll provide instructions on how to set one up.

Will we have to be available at certain times of the day?

No. There’s no requirement to be available at any particular time or to be in any particular time zone. You’ll complete critiques and exercises in your own time, and the lead tutor Q&As will last 48 hours, allowing you to participate around your schedule, no matter which time zone you’re in.

5000 words? I can’t write that fast!

5000 words is the maximum you can submit, but something around the 3000 to 4000 range might be more typical. You could aim to submit roughly a chapter each month. However, you can also submit much less, such as a single scene. 1000 words should be the minimum you aim for.

You can also submit previous writing that you’ve improved upon, rather than submitting something new each month.

Do the video lectures have captions?

Yes they do, and you can also view the lectures in PDF format.

Will I be able to email the tutors with questions during the programme?

Questions should be asked in the lead tutor Q&A in the Facebook group so that everyone can learn together. If you have a question that can’t be asked publicly, or that has to do with an organisational issue, by all means ask over email and the lead tutor will respond at their discretion.

What if I'm away/on holiday for part of the programme?

No problem. Just let us know, and you won’t have to submit any writing or do any critiques for the period that you’re away.

Am I guaranteed critiques?

You’re guaranteed a tutor critique every three months, and you’ll ordinarily get two peer critiques each month. However, it’s occasionally possible that, for various reasons, another group member may not be able to complete a critique for you. This only happens rarely.

What if I change my mind or need to leave the programme before my novel is complete?
If you decide the programme isn’t for you, simply cancel at any time during the first month and we’ll refund any fees you have paid in full, no questions asked. If you cancel after the first month, you will pay for the duration of the current month, but we’ll refund any payment you’ve made for the following month, and you won’t have to pay for any subsequent months. You can cancel your subscription at the click of a button via your account page on our website.
Is there a limit on how long I can stay in the programme?

There’s no limit – you can remain in the programme for as long as it takes you to complete your novel (or any subsequent ones!).

How do I pay?

Payment will be via credit or debit card. A payment will be taken every month during your participation in the programme. UK clients will pay in GBP, US clients will pay in USD, and EU clients will pay in EUR. All other clients will pay in USD.

Do you offer loyalty discounts?

Absolutely! Once you’ve been in the programme for six months, you’ll be rewarded with 5% off your monthly subscription. After twelve months, you’ll receive 10% off. This is conditional on you remaining in the programme continuously, with no breaks in your subscription. If you leave the programme and then re-join, you will do so at full price until you’ve earned the discount again.

What are the full terms and conditions?

You can view our full terms and conditions here.

Register your interest

The programme will open again for applications in spring 2022. In the meantime, we encourage you to join the waiting list. You’ll then be the first to know the exact dates for the next round, and we’ll give you advance notice before applications open.

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