Think your summer antics are fodder for a short story, novel, or screenplay?The accomplished authors and pastoral landscapes at these three writing retreats—all open to published or unpublished scribes—can help you channel Calliope.

Algonkian Novel Workshop
Algonkian Park, Virginia (September 4 to 8)

  • story arc: Analyze great works, both classic and contemporary, to help refine your own style. Promising book proposals will be sent to literary agents.
  • between chapters: Kayak the Potomac or hike through Great Falls Park, 30 miles north of Washington, D.C. Students dine together at different restaurants each night.
  • the setting: Individual cottages with fireplaces, cathedral ceilings, and river views.
  • the details: 703/281-4426;; $685, including course materials, breakfast, and lunch.

Spring Time Writers' Retreat
Lyons, Colorado (various dates in August and September)

  • story arc: Instructor Kathleen Spring's four-day workshop in the Rockies emphasizes journal writing and meditation as the paths to unearthing compelling stories.
  • between chapters: Ride horseback through the pines or relax with a wrap at the spa.
  • the setting: Themed rooms—Native American, Egyptian—in an intimate mountainside lodge.
  • the details: 303/823-0997;; $475, including classes and all meals but not other activities or treatments.

Arvon Foundation
Britain (various dates and locations through November)

  • story arc: Some of the U.K.'s best-known writers (Joanne Harris, A. L. Kennedy) discuss prose in the English and Scottish countryside.
  • between chapters: Wander heathered highlands and pastures; prepare and enjoy evening meals with your colleagues.
  • the setting: Choose from a traditional croft house in the Scottish Highlands, an 18th-century stone residence in West Yorkshire, or a pre-Domesday manor house in Devon.
  • the details: 44-1409/231-338;; six-day course $567, including classes and dinner.