Tell Me What You Really Think


My name is Marriya Schwarz. I am a junior, majoring in American Studies with a minor in Creative Writing. For my honors thesis, I am writing a comedic novel, titled Tell Me What You Really Think. It centers around Brooke Anne Dixon, a character with a strong hatred of her name, since her initials spell out “BAD.” Because of this, she assumes that she was doomed for failure at birth. In this way, she sees herself a bit like a Sleeping Beauty character (less beauty, more sleep). She is a writer, who recently achieved success through a short story, titled “Wasted” that was published through The New Yorker. It was a story where she wrote about her true personal life through the guise of fiction, poetically calling out her real-life boyfriend for cheating on her with her own roommate. Now that her roommate has moved out of their shared apartment to live happily with her boyfriend, Brooke desperately needs money to maintain rent on her Greenwich Village apartment. When she is approached by an agent about the possibility of writing a book in the same style of her short story, she agrees without hesitation, too blinded by the opportunity of financial stability. However, she begins to realize that she cannot actually come up with any characters that are unlike herself. Therefore, she decides to set up shop in Washington Square Park to interview New Yorkers in the hopes of taking their stories for this selfish creativity. Of course, things do not go to plan, and she ends up becoming attached to these stories. Instead, she writes about her own personal story that she has been suppressing, gaining clarity that was previously missing.

For this project, I will be reading books suggested by my advisor, like Obabakoak by Bernardo Atxaga and Outline by Rachel Cusk. Since I am trying to mimic a comedic style of writing, I will be looking at memoirs written by comedians like My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper and Bossypants by Tina Fey. I will be using my funding from the Charles Center to travel to New York City to study the Washington Square Park area so that I can make sure to include sensory details throughout my piece. I will also be doing a lot of research on various perspectives, like 9/11 survivors and those who have recently lost loved ones. This research will be done with editorial sources, like The New York Times and Bustle. Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me! I can’t wait to share what I create!