Introducing our online masterclasses…

Our online masterclasses are designed specially for historical fiction writers and feature a wide range of distinguished speakers and useful topics. We run one masterclass every month, usually on or around the first week of the month, with each masterclass lasting three hours and including a mix of presentation and Q&A, with an optional writing burst, discussion session, or exercises at the end. All of our masterclasses take place live and online via Zoom, with recordings available afterwards. You can choose to purchase each masterclass as a one off, or you can join The History Quill as a member, and they will be included in your membership. Members also get extra perks, including extended access to the recordings and exclusive masterclasses. See below for more information on our upcoming masterclasses and how you can join in!

Our next masterclass:


*This masterclass is exclusive to members

Thursday 7 December 2023, 6:30pm GMT / 1:30pm ET

Your tutor

Emma Darwin

Emma Darwin is a novelist, teacher and author of creative non-fiction. The novel she wrote for her MPhil in Writing, The Mathematics of Love, is probably the only novel ever nominated for both the Commonwealth Writers’ Best First Book, and the Romantic Novelists’ Association Novel of the Year Awards; her second, A Secret Alchemy, was a Sunday Times bestseller as well as earning her a PhD in Creative Writing. Her blog This Itch of Writing gave rise to Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction which publisher Scott Pack describes as ‘essential reading’. When her most recent book, This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin: a writer’s journey through my family was published, the Mail on Sunday described her account of three disastrous years trying to write a historical novel rooted in her family as ‘a fascinating journey…a masterclass’.

Key topics

Planning, pantsing & process

Some authors think of themselves as ‘planners’, others as ‘pantsers’. But what do these terms mean exactly, and what motivations and blocks are at play? Emma will help you understand which parts of the writing process you’re confident about, which bits you struggle with, and which bits you actively dodge.

Brainstorming, planning, and taming-your-draft techniques

Even for the most dedicated pantser, there are techniques that can help you tame your novel. Emma will walk you through a series of helpful techniques, including exercises on imagining, writing and hearing your characters, plus tips on research (where to look, how to collect it, and how to ‘leave it behind’ in your draft).

Polishing your draft 

From point of view, to psychic distance, to filtering, and more, Emma will introduce you to a set of powerful tools that will help you perfect your draft.

Structure and schedule

The masterclass will take place on Thursday 7 December 2023. All times are given in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and US Eastern Time (ET).

6:30pm GMT/ 1:30pm ET

 The masterclass begins. The tutor will welcome all participants and deliver a talk covering the key topics. There will be opportunities for you to ask questions during the talk, allowing plenty of time for interaction. This is the main section of the masterclass and will last two hours.

8:30pm GMT / 3:30pm ET

We will invite participants to join an optional hour-long workshop, where you can have a go at practising the skills you’ve just learnt.


Both parts of the event will be delivered live and online via Zoom. You must have access to a computer or smart device capable of supporting Zoom and a reliable internet connection in order to participate.

Join this masterclass!

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

$54.00 USD per month


As a member, you’ll be able to enjoy this masterclass, and subsequent masterclasses, all included in the price of your membership. You’ll also benefit from exclusive member perks, including indefinite access to masterclass recordings for as long as you remain a member and access to special member-only masterclasses. You can cancel at any time.

Future masterclasses

Tuesday 9th January 2023, 6:30pm GMT / 1:30pm ET

An eye on the past – exploring points of view in a historical novel, with Deborah Swift

Thursday 1st February 2024, 6:30pm GMT / 1:30pm ET

Dialogue that ‘sings’, with Margaret Skea

(Date TBC) March 2024, 6:30pm GMT / 1:30pm ET

Creating compelling  characters in historical fiction, with Katherine Clements

This masterclass is exclusive to members

(Date TBC) April 2024, 6:30pm GMT / 1:30pm ET

Working with a publisher, with Craig Lye


See what previous participants have said about our masterclasses…

“Thank you to The History Quill for organising such an excellent masterclass; I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot but was also reassured that I’m moving in the right direction with my writing.”

Veronica White

“I was engaged from beginning to end. I really enjoyed the tutor’s presentation and the exercise afterwards. I’m usually too shy to participate, but I really wanted to join in. I am so pleased I found The History Quill!”

Susan Jennings

Frequently asked questions

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How can I participate in the masterclasses?

You can either join us as a member or book each masterclass individually. We will email you a link the day before each masterclass, and you’ll use this to join the event on the day. We’ll also send you a reminder about an hour before the masterclass begins.

All our masterclasses take place live and online via Zoom. You must have access to a computer or a smart device capable of supporting Zoom, and you must have access to a reliable internet connection to take part.

Are the masterclasses recorded?

Yes, our masterclasses are recorded. The first two hours, consisting of the talk and Q&A sections, are always recorded. We sometimes record the optional hour-long session at the end as well, but it depends on the content and format.

If you’re a member, you’ll get access to the recordings indefinitely, as long as your membership remains active. If you book a masterclass as a one off, you’ll retain access to the recording for one week.

Which countries do you accept bookings from?

We welcome bookings from people who are resident in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada (excluding Saskatchewan), Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and any EU country. If you are not resident in one of these countries, unfortunately we won’t be able to accept your business at this time.

Please note the stipulation about time zones below.

If I become a member, when will my membership fee be taken?

We take membership fees monthly. Your first payment will be taken when you join, and it will renew automatically every month on the same date.

What's the difference between becoming a member and booking each masterclass as a one off?

Members pay a recurring monthly fee, which is significantly lower than the cost of booking each masterclass as a one off. As a member, you’ll get access to every masterclass that takes place from the date you become a member, all included in the price of your membership. You will get exclusive perks, including indefinite access to the recordings for as long as you remain a member and access to special member-only masterclasses. Members also receive access to The History Quill Community, exclusive blog content, and discounts on some of our most popular services. Full details of our membership can be found on our membership page.

If you prefer to book the masterclasses on a one-off basis, you’ll pay a higher fee and won’t get access to member perks. You will only have access to the recordings for one week after each masterclass and won’t be able to participate in any member-only masterclasses.

I'm a member – where can I find the recordings?

You can find the webpage with all the masterclass recordings here. You can also find the link in your user portal.

You will only have access to the masterclasses that occurred after you became a member.

Can I cancel my membership at any time?

Yes! You can cancel whenever you like. Members aren’t locked in for a minimum period, so you can join for as little as one month if you like.

You can cancel via your online account here. Go to the subscription section in order to cancel. Alternatively, you can email us at and we’ll cancel your membership for you.

When is the booking deadline for each masterclass?

If you are booking the masterclass as a one off, the deadline for booking is 48 hours before the masterclass takes place. We also close the membership subscription option on this page at the same time. If you join our membership on another part of the website less than 48 hours before a masterclass takes place, be aware you may miss the link to join the masterclass live, though you will still get access to the recording.

How interactive are the masterclasses? Can I ask questions?

There is lots of scope for interaction during our masterclasses. You will be able to ask questions during the Q&A sections, and afterwards there is always an optional one hour session involving a group writing burst, exercises, or discussion.

Equally, if you’d prefer not to interact, you don’t have to. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy the talk. You don’t have to participate in the optional one hour session at the end if you don’t want to.

How does the optional one hour session at the end work?

At the end of the talk and Q&A, we will invite you to join an hour-long session at the end, which will normally consist of a writing burst, exercises, or discussion.

If you wish to watch the session but not directly participate, you’re very welcome to do so.

Do you accommodate different time zones?

Our masterclasses are live events, and we schedule them to align well with time zones in North America and Europe. If you are outside of these locations, you can still participate, but it may not align well with your local time zone. You also have the option of watching the recordings instead.

What accessibility options do you provide?

We use live AI captions for the masterclasses, and these are also included in the recordings. Please note, these captions won’t be 100% accurate and may be delivered with a short delay, but they should help people who are deaf or hard of hearing to participate.

How do I pay?

You can pay by credit or debit card when you book or join as a member. For members, future payments will then be taken on the same day each month until you cancel your membership.

Which payment currencies do you accept?

We accept three payment currencies: USD, GBP, and EUR. The currency you pay in will depend on your country of residence. People resident in the UK will pay in GBP, people resident in the EU will pay in EUR, and people resident in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa will pay in USD.

What are the full terms and conditions?

You can view our full terms and conditions here.

More questions?

If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing us at

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