Thursday, December 14, 2006

Creative Writing Class in Ankara

Dear Colleagues

Last Wednesday, we completed our first period of “Creative Writing” course in METU (Middle East Technical University) Alumni Premises, the fifth session, one class per week.

We could name our activity as “Introduction To Creative Writing” from a reputable Turkish novel writer. Our teacher, Mehmet Eroglu (METU CE’71 graduate) said “Writing, is stripping in the crowd”, as stated earlier by J.P Sartre, he continues some more sayings maybe from reputable writers or original from himself

”The worst master in the world is our own habits” which we do not want to change,

“The easiest person we can deceive, is ourselves”

”Whatever we postpone all our life, we should immediately start to do it right now”

”The most important thing is to use your time in correct way”

He said that he started to play saxophone in his mid-40s. Nobody took him seriously when he started since he knew nothing about reading the musical notes. However he said that he worked 2-3 times more than others. Now he can play at 100 pop pieces properly. He has certain limitations obviously. For example he still can not play “improvisation” and he feels that he will never do it.

He left his high income top management post from a local construction company in his mid-50s, and devoted all his time to writing.

He is now giving “Creative Writing” lessons to newcomers in a Journalism Foundation (UM:AG) in Ankara

He has about 10 best seller books in the local bookstores.

He says “Artists, writers are selfish, in order to create something important, they should devote all their time to work and suffer, there is no more time for anything else”.

Some sayings he loves to state from other writers,

”What a pity to value goodness, rather than to be good” Moby Dick- McRude ??

"I will not have my hair style to this years fashion " Lillian Hepburn (to respond Elia Kazan)

"Big things can not be done without love" Schoendoerfer

Our teacher says, "Freedom is either complete or non-existed. Each morning it should be gained once again".

"Do not satisfy with small happiness, get bigger expectation from happiness "

Then he taught how he wrote his books,

“When you write a book, a novel, you should write the end at first. Then you will plot the writing with that fixed end. You should know the end upfront. When you complete the book, you should read your writing loud, to check if words flow smoothly one after another, without any interruption, ”

“If there is no courage, personal virtues are at danger”

“Macho courage may slide to wilderness so easily.

”You should leave all your ethical values, in order to create you need destruction first, break your taboos first”

”Art is something to get used to death. All living creatures will die. Art, courage to create, is something to reach immortality, to live in future. Saying -Do not forget me! Living in the future is only possible through Art”

”While writing, you should question every preaccepted notion”

”You will have a talents to take risks”

”Limitations are necessary and good for creations. The most important thing is to create something incredible within limitations. The most important artworks are created by order”

”Creation can be learnt”

”You should have extraordinary work discipline”

”Happiness is something within seconds. Literature is writing PAIN on plain paper. It is expressing feelings. It is expressing of beauty.”

”You should have a story in order to write”

“Artist have a responsibility to the community”

”The real critic is time”

”You will have characters in your novel, they should have pain, they should have pain of indecisiveness, they should have difficult choices, they should suffer because of their incorrect untimely choices. Main characters cannot be happy in the novel. Each character should have a function, evolving in the novel, a clear consistency in their responses.”

Born in 1947 in Izmir, English based high school, then Civil Engineering from METU in 1971. Long term prison due to political activities. Then trilogy during his prison years, Many Literature prizes in 1980s. Then work in public institutions then in a private construction company. Then one day, leaving everything just to write novels and giving lessons how to write.

His web site in Turkish is

His email address is

The first book he advised in his first lesson was "Tatar Desert" by Dino BUZATTI.

In the last lesson, we evaluated that book. A young lieutenant goes to a remote castle next to a desert at border. He waits there all his career to fight against enemy. In the end enemy comes, but it is too late. He is to old to fight.

Teacher says “talent, is combination of energy and determination”

”Creation, is sum of talent, preparation and imagination”

”Imagination, is habit of dreaming”

”Art, needs creation and courage.”

He advised us the book named “Courage of Creation” by Rollo May, of USA. I purchased and started reading now.

”Those who would take the writer to future, are real readers, critics and mostly the luck.”

Do you wish me to write more about our “Creative Writing” lessons in Ankara?

Please feel free to post your comments, and advise the original wording of those sayings stated above.


Anonymous said...

To be a writer, whether technical, literary or some other kind, you must have a theme to tell. Without a theme, the writer would be without a rudder, or direction.

To be a creative writer, you must have passion. Just wanting to write, or needing to write, is not enough. It is passion that drives the writer to create.

A good writer will never be satisfied with his/her first version, second version, etc. He/she will constantly read and revise, re-read and re-revise, etc., until he/she is satisfied with the final version. He/she may be consumed with the revisions to the point where his/her sleep is often cut short in order to make further revisions at odd hours of the day.

Even when the "final version" is finished, it is best to leave it for a while for further revisions and adjustments. As the real final version takes shape, the theme is left behind, but words and terms, and their meanings, gain greater importance. This final stage may be called "fine tuning."

For good writing, a good thesaurus is a must. The writer must pay attention to the subtleties of words and terms, and a thesaurus would be very useful for this purpose. He/she should also pay attention to how good writers have composed certain words and terms and write them down for later consultation.

After the theme, word selection and word composition is the most important aspect of good writing. Usage of correct grammar is a pre-requisite for good writing, but in itself, adds little value to creative aspect of writing. A writer who struggles with grammar will not be a successful writer.

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the points your teacher has imparted, but I
would not change my habits of a lifetime.

"You should have a story in order to write"
Although that may seem fairly obvious, sometimes a story can be
created from a few simple words, flowing with imagination into a
complete book.

"Artists have a responsibility to the community"
I disagree. An artist (writer) has a responsibility to himself only,
but if he/she discovers the community are attracted to his inimitable
style, only then does he transfer his responsibility to the
community, in order to satisfy their demand.

"You should write the end first"
Only if you have the complete work fixed firmly in your mind, to
allow you to lead up to your conclusion.

Personally, I first decide on my characters and list their
distinctive features; their height; their likes and dislikes; their
ages; their birthdays; their relationships with each other.
Then I write a first chapter, bearing in mind the general theme of
the complete work.
After the first chapter, I let my mind have free rein and I'm off at
a gallop, only slowing to a canter at intervals to check for
continuity of detail.
I am the rider and though I may not win the race, nobody is going to
force me onto the rails.

"You should read your writing aloud"
I agree, because then you will gain the discipline of knowing when
the reader needs to pause for breath, because even if a reader is not
reading aloud, the very act of reading demands that normal aspiration
should be regulated.
An overlong sentence without proper punctuation loses its impact and
often causes the reader to recap in case he has missed a pause.

"Writing is stripping in a crowd"
That's an unusual but very cogent observation, for you, the writer,
are lying bare your very soul for the world to judge your character.
A good writer should get into the mind and body of his characters and
by so doing he displays his own virtues and vices. Whether the
character is a lover or a murderer,the writer has assumed the character's psyche, leaving the keyboard and entering a new

Most fiction writers adopt a `Walter Mitty' syndrome and are in
effect writing an imaginary autobiography.

You write very well Haluk and I always look forward to your efforts on this board

As always, Wings