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 are now open and will close on Wednesday 25 May at 2pm BST. If you’re interested and want to learn more, read on.
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.
Every month, you’ll submit up to 5000 words of your writing. You will be guaranteed a critique from one of our expert tutors every three months on the standard tier or every month on the enhanced tier.
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.
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.
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.
You will be invited to join our private Slack workspace, in which you can interact with your designated critique group and everyone else who is participating in the programme. Within this workspace, 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 writing topics and all things historical fiction.
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.
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.
How long does the programme last?
It is a rolling programme – you can stay as long as you like and leave at any time.
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. We use a private Slack workspace for facilitating communication within the group. We also use Slack for sharing writing submissions and critiques. You’ll access the learning modules online via our website.
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 my critique group?
If you sign up for the standard or enhanced tier, you will work within a designated critique group of 7–10 members. You’ll be able to interact with your critique group via a private Slack channel. You’ll also have access to the wider community (i.e. everyone else who is participating in the programme, including those from other critique groups and on the basic tier) via a separate channel. This will allow you to create close connections with writers who are working on similar projects to you, as well as giving you access to a larger community of historical fiction writers.
How do the submissions work?
If you sign up for the standard or enhanced tier, 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. If you sign up for the basic tier, you won’t submit any writing, or carry out and receive critiques.
How do I apply?
When applications are open, you’ll be able to apply via the buttons on this page. If you sign up for the standard or enhanced tier, you will be asked to submit 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. If you sign up for the basic tier, you will apply via the same form, but you won’t need to submit a sample of your work. However, we will still ask some questions to check that what you’re working on is a good fit.
What happens if I change my mind?
You can upgrade or downgrade your tier once in every six months. If you would prefer to leave the programme altogether, you can cancel your subscription at the click of a button via your account page on our website, no questions asked. 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.
Share your monthly writing goal with the group and update us on your progress.
8th of month
The monthly learning module is published.
Q&A session with the lead tutor.
19th of month
The deadline for submitting your writing (standard and enhanced tiers only).
Group discussion on a set writing topic.
Q&A session with the lead tutor.
Last day of month
The deadline for submitting your peer critiques (standard and enhanced tiers only).
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 (standard and enhanced tiers only).
$66.00 USD / month
Receive access to the learning and community aspects of the programme. Includes everything except peer critiques, tutor critiques, and one-to-one coaching sessions.
$180.00 USD per month
Receive access to all programme features, including two peer critiques per month, a tutor critique every three months, and one-to-one coaching sessions every twelve months.
$308.40 USD per month
Receive access to everything that’s included in the standard tier, but with a greater frequency of tutor critiques (one per month).
After six continuous months on the programme, you will receive 10% off your monthly subscription.
Meet your tutors
Pippa Brush Chappell
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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 are now open and will close on Wednesday 25 May at 2pm BST.
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 Slack?
Yes. Slack is the best tool for facilitating communication within the group. If you haven’t used it before, don’t worry – we’ll provide detailed instructions and will be here to help if you encounter any technical problems. The Slack workspace is private, so no one else can join or see who is a member.
How will we share our writing?
You’ll upload your writing and critiques to your critique group’s dedicated Slack channel. We’ll provide instructions on how to do this.
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?
Will I be able to email the tutors with questions during the programme?
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?
If you sign up for the standard or enhanced tier, yes – but not the basic tier. On the standard tier, you’ll receive a tutor critique every three months. On the enhanced tier, you’ll receive a tutor critique every month. On both the standard and enhanced tiers, 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?
Is there a limit on how long I can stay in the programme?
There’s no limit – you can remain on the programme for as long as it takes you to complete your novel (and any subsequent ones!).
What’s the difference between the basic, standard, and enhanced tiers?
The basic tier gives you access to the learning and community aspects of the programme. This includes everything except from the peer critiques, tutor critiques, and one-to-one coaching calls. The standard tier gives you access to all aspects of the programme, with tutor critiques at a frequency of one every three months. On the enhanced tier, you’ll receive access to everything that is included in the standard tier, but with a greater frequency of tutor critiques (one every month).
Can I change tier?
You can upgrade or downgrade your tier once in any six-month period. Just contact the lead tutor to let them know you would like to do so. This change will take effect from your next subscription payment.
How do I pay?
Payment is via credit or debit card. Your first payment will be taken when you enroll, and it will renew automatically every month on the same date 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?
We do! Once you’ve been in the programme for six months, you’ll be rewarded with 10% off your monthly subscription, whichever tier you’re on. This is conditional on you remaining in the programme continuously, with no breaks to your subscription. If you leave the programme then return, 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.