How to Write an Epic, with Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk

"Pay attention to people's lives," explains the acclaimed author. Then don't be afraid to rewrite and edit and re-edit and re-rewrite and so on.

Orhan Pamuk: Other people can learn from a writer's life many things because writer's lives are so different. Some are possessed with something that comes from outside; some are possessed with their visions. Likes of me are different. I work like a clerk and then also my books are more like frescoes and epics. So I start from a corner and continue and continue without even knowing what the final picture would be in the end. Forty years of devotion to the art of the novel taught me one thing, that is to pay attention to people's lives, to pay attention what you hear about people's lives. This novel, A Strangeness in My Mind, is based on interviews that I did it with lots of people, that also taught me to be modest about people's lives and play around with the details of their lives until it really sounds more real than reality. Most of my life, I did not have a proper editor since I was writing in Istanbul. I am my own editor. But the secrets of writing is rewriting, self-editing, re-editing, reading to your beloved ones, to your wife, to your daughter, to your partner and hearing the story from other people's point of view, never giving up your high standard of criteria, of good writing, and continuing on and on and on and on and editing and editing and taking out, no matter how much time you gave to that beautiful page, perhaps that can also be cut out.

Want to master the art of writing novels? "Pay attention to people's lives," explains Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk. Then don't be afraid to write and rewrite and edit and re-edit and re-rewrite and so on.


Pamuk's latest novel is titled A Strangeness in My Mind.

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