Creative Writing Major Program
A new Creative Writing student must take (a) a Workshop and (b) Elements of Poetry and Fiction in his/her first year.
After the first year, majors must take workshop and one other writing course. In their senior year, majors are encouraged (not required) to take three creative writing courses. Majors are also required to attend individual tutorials with their writing instructors on a weekly basis, and they are expected to participate fully in all program activities, including guest writers’ workshops and readings (usually Thursdays).
Students who choose to major in Creative Writing should take into account, when planning their class schedules, that time must be reserved for writing, and therefore care should be taken to avoid an overload of homework.
Creative Writing majors gather for required Common Hours on Thursday afternoons from 1:30-4 in the Writing House. A weekly department meeting is held at 1:30 followed by independent writing time and one-on-one tutorials with instructors by appointment. Occasional departmental activities held during Common Hours include Question and Answer sessions with Visiting Writers, open mics, additional workshop sessions and field trips. Students are expected to report as directed to required tutorials and workshop sessions. For the remainder of this time, students are expected to focus on writing, revision, and required reading and critiquing for writing classes.
Courses Offered Both Semester One and Semester Two
Elements of Fiction—explores the stylistic elements of short fiction including characterization, point of view, plot, setting, dialogue and story structure through short exercises and the close reading and analysis of published short stories by a diverse range of authors.
Varies by instructor, most reading handed out in class.
Notebook and writing materials.
Elements of Poetry—explores the stylistic elements of poetry including poetic structure and forms, line breaks and enjambment, meter, rhyme, rhythm and imagery through short exercises and the close reading and analysis of poetry by a diverse range of authors.
Varies by instructor, most reading handed out in class, although textbooks or anthologies may be required as well. Notebook and writing materials.
Introduction to Screenwriting—introduces the concepts of writing for the screen from an analytical and creative viewpoint. Students will learn about screenplay structure and format; explore the creation of character, setting, conflict, theme, tone, dialogue and subtext; and gain an understanding of how to use the tools of the filmmaker to create filmic language and write visually.
Notebook and writing materials, screenplays and handouts provided/loaned.
The Writing of Non-Fiction—studies the genre of creative nonfiction with special consideration given to writing as an organic exercise rather than a formulaic process. Students will explore a range of stylistic approaches to the genre through close reading of contemporary authors and by writing and revising their own nonfiction.
Daily handouts and essays by major writers which change year to year. Texts vary by instructor.
Workshop—the core of the writing program, workshops are seminar-style classes focused on fiction or poetry. Creative writing majors rotate each term so that students receive instruction and practice in both genres. Through close reading and discussion of published stories and poems, writing exercises, peer critiques and weekly tutorials with instructors who provide constructive and inspiring feedback at each stage of the drafting process, students are encouraged to further develop their writing.
Various readings, handed out in class.
Writer-in-Residence—Writer-in-Residence courses are special studies electives for writers and those deeply interested in writing, designed by the Writer-in-Residence and based on that writer's specific field of interest or knowledge. These offerings are one-of-a-kind in nature, and are rarely offered again after that writer has completed a residency here at Interlochen. They are typically hybrid craft/literature courses with time devoted to reading and discussing various texts and producing and honing various creative assignments and projects.
FIRST SEMESTER ONLY
Playwriting—introduces students to basic concepts of writing for the stage. Students will read and analyze models, participate in generative script exercises and practice the following sub-genres: monologue, scene, ten-minute play, and the one-act play. Elements of contemporary playwriting will include study of plot structures and conflict escalation, story arc, characterization, dialogue, voice and rhythm, and adaptation of idea to stage conventions.
Hatcher, The Art and Craft of Playwriting
Selected plays, TBA
Writing from Art: Ekphrastic Writing—covers the study and practice of writing inspired by other works of art, particularly visual art. Called ekphrastic writing, these interpretive responses consist of poetry, prose-poems, short fiction, dialogue, vignettes, etc. inspired by other art forms. The first section of the course offers a survey of ekphrastic writing from Homer to post-modern models. Using these models, the course offers lively opportunities for analytical and response writing as well as creative/emulative exercises. As a cumulative project, students will create an in-depth study of a favorite artist’s work with the goal of eliciting a series of interrelated ekphrastic responses. Students will be given at least one opportunity to respond to another art form such as dance, composition, film or music. Guest artists regularly visit and inspire the class.
SECOND SEMESTER ONLY
Advanced Screenwriting—an intense workshop for screenwriting students who are ready to work on projects of their choice. Students move beyond the basics to develop their voices as screenwriters, create their own goals, and actively engage in analysis of professional screenplays.
Writing materials, Screenplay copies and handouts provided/loaned.
Hybrid Genres—This course will begin under the tutelage of the three great haiku masters, Basho, Buson, and Issa, as we study how images, compression, objectivity and perception work within the haiku. Next we'll look briefly at contemporary variations of the form (as W.S. Merwin reportedly said, "a haiku is a 17-syllable poem written in Japanese") before moving on to the haibun via Basho's classic linked-verse travel journal, Narrow Road to the Deep North and Issa's The Year of My Life, both of which interlace verse and prose. A respected but often ignored modern day form, the haibun will serve as our launching point into discussion of other hard-to-pin-down, multi-genre and edge-of-genre works that juxtapose prose and verse and/or narrative and lyric impulses, such as James Galvin's The Meadow, CD Wright's Deepstep Come Shining, Kimiko Hahn's own Narrow Road and two films by Terrance Malick.
Literary Publications—teaches students how to prepare a literary manuscript for publication including development of editorial criteria for selection, soliciting, developing guidelines for revision, communicating with authors about revision, copy editing, proofing, and production and design. These efforts culminate in the publication of our annual online literary journal The Interlochen Review.