Using the Discovery Phase to Set Up a Trope Exploration

Since it can be helpful to see how others have approached processes, I thought I’d share with you how I approached the Discovery process for a couple of my recent projects. This first one was started as a project for the practice-based research in the arts class I took last fall. I do follow my own advice and keep a file of story ideas, and for the class project pulled out a years-old dialogue idea to play around with. According to the note I’d left with the dialogue, the whole point of responding to the idea was to make fun of the magical girl trope, so I figured that would give me enough room to work through the different research methodologies we would be learning.

The second lecture introduced autoethnography, and asked us to take an autoethnographic look at our project by determining the question or questions we hoped to explore and answer in the course of working on our project. I had already started the Discovery process on the story idea, so I was set. After much brainstorming and interviewing both the idea and myself, I realized that I had been questioning that trope since I was a child. (If you know me or get to know me, you’ll realize fairly quickly that I run from magical girl stories about as quickly as I run from spiders.) So I wrote down my questions, and I organized them into groups of thought.

What I was left with was a solid base to come back to as I continued to write, research, and reflect. When I felt like I was getting off track, I came back to those questions and used them to help guide me back on course. In fact, after a bit, I realized I was really looking at the magical girl trope through the action girl trope lens (Because I grew up wanting to be the action girl, it was like having a conversation with ten-year-old me.), and I felt that responded well to some of the questions I was looking to answer with this short story, allowing me to deepen the story with this other perspective.

This story has been tabled while I work on a voice issue that’s preventing the story from being the best version of itself, but perhaps once it’s ready, I’ll share the questions that directed the story’s development.

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One thought on “Using the Discovery Phase to Set Up a Trope Exploration

  1. Pingback: The Process of Discovery | Genius in Transition

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