Interlochen's three-week summer creative writing program is an outstanding opportunity for aspiring writers. Students hone their voices and visions, learning to respond to feedback through revision, taking their writing to the next level. The writing faculty includes published authors who provide individualized mentorship and lead intensive workshops that immerse students in the writing craft. Students also learn how to find outlets for their work, including contests and publishing opportunities.
Students concentrate on two of three areas of study: poetry, fiction and playwriting. The combination of genres for each student is based on student preference and a portfolio review.
For each concentration, students will participate in workshops in which their work will be critiqued by instructors and peers, allowing them to refine their craft through revision. The session culminates in a public reading in which students present their work.
- Poetry classes focus on lyric, narrative and dramatic poetry, and introduce students to traditional and contemporary poets. Students will explore such topics as textures of language, voice, image, metaphor and context through writing and revising various poetic forms.
- Fiction classes focus on the elements of writing the short story. Students are introduced to the craft of short fiction through in-class writing exercises and the close reading and discussion of published stories by a diverse range of authors. Topics explored include story structure, point of view, character and plot development, setting, dialogue and the craft of revision. Students will workshop one full-length story in class.
- Playwriting classes introduce students to concepts such as character creation and dramatic structure through the reading of contemporary dramatic texts. Students will focus on scene writing to explore character, action, theatricality and dialogue, and workshop a scene in class to explore initial stages of revision
Students who have an interest in exploring additional art forms may select one elective class.
The creative writing department is centrally located on Interlochen's scenic campus, in The Writing House, a sunny, comfortable building uniquely designed for the study and practice of writing. View 360-degree tour
High School creative writing students are required to bring a laptop computer, which supports Windows XP, Windows 7, or Mac OSX (version 10.5 or newer) only, and a USB Flash Drive. Other operating systems are not guaranteed to be compatible with campus systems. It is not necessary to bring a printer. Computer use is strictly limited to class work and Internet access is not allowed.
Please submit up to five PDF files.
(PDF #1) A personal essay that addresses three points:
- How the practice of reading and writing enriches your life
- How your attendance at Interlochen will help you attain your goals for creative writing
- Your first and second choices for poetry, fiction or playwriting and reasons for your preferences.
(PDFs #2-5) Assemble a portfolio for at least two of the following genres that reflect your prior work and areas of interest:
- Poetry – four to five poems, preferably non-rhyming, that offer a variety of forms, styles and subjects.
- Fiction – two short stories, only one of which may be in the fantasy or science fiction genre.
- Playwriting – two dialogue-driven scenes or plays.
Applicants who are interested in all three areas may submit material for each one, but will only be placed in two areas of study, if accepted.
All portfolio materials should be typed and proofread, with a standard 12-point font. Portfolios must not exceed 30 pages.
Students with an interest in screenwriting are also invited to apply for the summer screenwriting program, offered by the Motion Picture Arts division.
Interlochen is also home the Arts Academy boarding high school, which offers a creative writing major for grades 9-12, as well as a post-graduate year.
Director of Creative Writing, Interlochen Center for the Arts
Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen Arts Camp