High School Creative Writing Summer Program

Interlochen's summer creative writing program gives you time and space to immerse yourself in the craft of writing. Guided by an outstanding faculty of published fiction writers, essayists, playwrights, and poets, you will expand your skills, deepen your conceptual understanding of writing as an art form, and increase your confidence to share your work with others in print and aloud.

Program length: 3 weeks
Program dates:
June 27, 2015 to July 18, 2015
July 19, 2015 to August 10, 2015
Tuition: $4,935
Age range: Grades 9-12

During the three-week sessions, students spend their days in The Writing House, a beautiful and inspiring space built specifically to meet the needs of young writers. View 360-degree virtual tour. The daily schedule includes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and playwriting workshops, "studio time" to work independently and meet one-on-one with faculty, as well as evening readings by the faculty and visiting authors. Each session culminates with a public reading by the students and the publication of an anthology of student work.

Based on your preference and portfolio review, you will concentrate on two of four areas of study: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and playwriting.

  • Poetry workshop focuses on lyric, narrative, and dramatic poetry, and you will be introduced to traditional and contemporary poets. You will explore topics such as the texture and rhythm of language, image-making, and metaphor.
  • Fiction workshop focuses on the fundamental elements of writing short stories. You will be introduced to the craft of short fiction through in-class exercises and the discussion and analysis of a diverse range of published stories. You will explore story structure, point of view, character, plot development, setting, dialogue, and the craft of revision.
  • Playwriting workshop will introduce you to character creation and dramatic structure through reading contemporary dramatic texts. You will write scenes to explore character, action, theatricality, and dialogue, and workshop a scene in class.
  • Nonfiction workshop will introduce students to the foundational skills needed to write compelling personal essays and memoir.

Round out your experience with one elective class. Choose from a variety of arts areas, including music, film, dance, theatre, and visual arts. View elective class options.

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.

Portfolio Requirements

Please submit up to five PDF files.

(PDF #1) A personal essay that addresses three points:

  1. How the practice of reading and writing enriches your life
  2. How your attendance at Interlochen will help you attain your goals for creative writing
  3. Your first and second choices for poetry, fiction, nonfiction, 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
  • Nonfiction - two personal essays or a longer work of memoir. Please do not send academic essays.

Applicants who are interested in all four 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.

Additional Opportunities

Students with an interest in screenwriting are also invited to apply for the summer screenwriting program, offered by the motion picture arts department.

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.

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Photo Galleries

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  • 2014 HS Creative Writing 527
  • 2014 HS Creative Writing 109
  • 2014 HS Creative Writing 223
  • 2014 HS Playwriting 550
  • 2014 HS Creative Writing 472
  • 2014 HS Creative Writing 301

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