I am now home, still tired, and it will take me a while to digest everything I learned at Winchester Writers' Festival.
The final masterclass was with Simon Hall entitled Planning go Success which left me wondering afterwards whether I should just re-draft my novel after all he said! Seriously, it was brilliant. He went through everything a writer should do to get published, what he calls the Six P's - Premiering, Place, People, Plot, Professionalism and Persistence, all of which add up to the Big P - Publication. Simon had us doing little written exercises and then at one point he had us all close our eyes. None of us knew what he would be doing which created suspense (which is what he wanted). He kicked a chair over, he sprayed (over our heads) his cologne and deodorant and breathed on the back of some heads. Wow! He told us he once got a friend to tie him up and put him in the boot of his car and drive him around so he could see what it felt like -- what he could hear etc. (What would have happened if the friend had been pulled over by the Police, I wonder - 'Yes, sir, and you say he asked you to do it? Of course, sir!)
The session was very interactive and Simon was great at creating those 'tension spots' by starting or saying something that he would go back to later, so it leaves everyone wondering. He does write thrillers, so he's good at this. Simon went into great detail about each 'P' and I think the whole class got tons out of it. Before any break time he'd set a little puzzle. Most were lateral thinking, which I am hopeless at. The logical ones I'm better at - it's the way my mind works.
So, it may be a few days before I get back to my writing. The novel will sit for a bit longer yet. I think some deep mulling is required to take in everything I have learned before I go and edit again. I need to catch up on sleep first because my brain will not work on short rations! A great, if exhausting, weekend and I'm so proud of myself for actually plucking up the courage to go.