Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"Questionnaire" - Thesis Defense Preparation

To prepare for my thesis defense, I wrote out a list of questions and answers about my book. Below is a snippet from my notes. Perhaps it will provide some more insight into my project.

Why did you choose this topic?

I've always loved reading artist biographies, and I've wanted to be a music journalist for a very long time. I became a Prince fan in high school, and his spiritual music really intrigued me. I used my undergraduate biography class as an opportunity to write about his spiritual journey using research by other scholars. In graduate school, I conducted my own interviews, and completed a closer study of his music.

What was your biggest challenge?

Getting interviews was especially challenging. I had to deal with non-disclosure agreements, and it took a really long time to track some people down (for example, I waited a year to talk to Jill Jones). I’m glad that I didn’t give up. I learned that you just have to keep trying periodically.

Describe your interviewing process.

I created a list of sources by using previous biographies, liner notes, film credits and recommendations from other sources. I wrote down my questions before I contacted each source just in case they were ready to talk on the spot. I kept most interviews to an hour or less unless they wanted to talk longer. Most interviews were done over the phone. I tried to transcribe interviews as soon as I finished them. I have a running spreadsheet of all of my sources with contact information.

Describe your writing process.

After I wrote about Prince's childhood, I approached each chapter in the same manner. First, I analyzed his music, videos, and movies (if applicable). Then, I shared what journalists and his audience thought of his music, videos and movies (if applicable). Next, I analyzed his tour/performances, and shared what journalists and his audience thought about them. Afterwards, I wrote about what was happening in his life. Finally, I summarized the chapter and wrote about what was coming up in the following chapter.

If you have any other questions, please ask them in the comments below!

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