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. Masterclasses are exclusively available to members of The History Quill.

Our next masterclass:

How to write a gripping plot in historical fiction, with Yvonne Battle-Felton

Saturday 4 May 2024, 6:30pm BST / 1:30pm ET

Your tutor

Yvonne Battle-Felton

Yvonne’s novel Remembered (Dialogue Books/Blackstone Publishing) was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (2019) and shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize (2020). She previously won the Northern Writers Award in fiction (2017) and has received a British Library Eccles Centre and a Kimbilio Fiction Fellowship. Curdle Creek, her second novel, will be published in October, 2024 by Dialogue Books (UK) and Henry Holt (US). Yvonne is a senior commissioning editor (literary fiction) at John Murray, and Associate Professor and Academic Director of Creative Writing at Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education.

She has six childrens titles published in Penguin Random House’s The Ladybird Tales of Superheroes and The Ladybird Tales of Crowns and Thrones.

Key topics

Generating plot ideas

Yvonne will explore how to use pictures, headlines, articles and archives to generate compelling novel ideas from history.

Plot structures

You’ll learn what readers expect from a plot and how to reinforce or subvert those expectations when it comes to structuring your plot. This masterclass will also explore how to create, develop and sustain mystery, conflict, and suspense and show you how to define your main ‘story question’ to drive readers forwards.

From inciting incidents to crescendo conclusions 

You’ll move right through different parts of plot, learning about inciting incidents, discovering how to tackle common plot problems, and discussing how to craft a compelling climax to your novel.

Structure and schedule

The masterclass will take place on Saturday 4 May 2024. All times are given in British Summer Time (BST) and US Eastern Time (ET).

6:30pm BST / 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 BST / 3:30pm ET

The final interactive hour will let you experiment with different plot structures and writing your novel’s inciting incident.


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 get indefinite access to masterclass recordings for as long as you remain a member. You can cancel at any time.

Future masterclasses

Tuesday 11 June 2024, 6:30pm BST / 1:30pm ET

The past is a place: bringing historical settings alive, with Sean Lusk

(Date TBC) July 2024, 6:30pm BST / 1:30pm ET

How and why to write historical fantasy, with Theodore Brun

(Date TBC) August 2024, 6:30pm BST / 1:30pm ET

The definitive guide to self-publishing, with David Penny


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?

Masterclasses are exclusively available to members of The History Quill, so you’ll need to join us as a member. The masterclasses are included in the price of your membership – there is no additional fee.

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.

You’ll get access to the recordings indefinitely, as long as your membership remains active.

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.

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.

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 sign up for a membership subscription with a credit or debit card. 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