Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
I - June 29–July 17, 2020
II - July 21–August 7, 2020
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 11:10 a.m. –1:00 p.m. and 3:10–5:00 p.m.
Rachel Carter

Students should come in with an idea for a novel, or a novel currently in progress that they are looking to receive feedback on. Prior workshop experience is preferred but not required.

“It pushed me to really examine and improve my writing.” — From a program course evaluation 

Course Description

Whether you are interested in writing literary fiction, young adult, fantasy, sci-fi, or mystery, certain truths about crafting a novel hold true across genres. This course is designed to teach students the ins-and-outs of novel writing, from conception to outlining to the writing itself. We focus on how to structure a novel as well as establishing conflict, world-building, character work, pacing, and how to create an effective scene.

Course participants share their writing in a workshop setting and receive in-depth feedback from both their peers and the instructor. By the end of the three weeks, they will have completed an original outline and the first three chapters of their novel. They leave with a greater understanding of what it means to craft a long-form work of fiction—and having become stronger and more confident in their overall writing skills.

Applicants must submit one or two writing samples, 5-10 pages total (longer submissions are acceptable), and one paragraph summarizing an original novel idea (this can be a new concept or something you have already been working on). 

Courses in creative writing are offered in conjunction with the Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Overseen by Chair of Creative Writing Timothy Donnelly, Professor Alan Ziegler, and Director of Creative Writing for Pre-College Programs Christina Rumpf, the creative writing courses are designed to challenge and engage students interested in literary creation, providing them with a substantial foundation for further exploration of their creative work.


Rachel Carter

Rachel Carter is the author of the So Close to You series with HarperTeen. She attended the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction creative writing. She has taught at Columbia University, Champlain College, and Southern New Hampshire University, and her nonfiction has appeared in The New Republic, The Faster Times, and Booktrib. She currently lives in Brooklyn and is a Visiting Professor of creative writing at Montclair State University. 

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.