Invented on paper but born digital: the genesis of Gie Bogaert’s novel “Roosevelt”

Lamyk Bekius

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientificpeer-review


Today, most literary writing processes occur in a digital environment. The question thus rises whether this affects the writing process and to what extent traditional textual genetic methodology can still be applied. This paper will present new insights in the digital writing process provided by the data of keystroke logging software in combination with traditional endogenetic sources. I focus on the genesis of the novel Roosevelt (2016) by the Flemish literary author Gie Bogaert (1958). Bogaert’s writing process takes place in a ‘traditional’ as well as in a digital environment, as he divides his writing process into two stages. The first part – the ‘creative process’ as Bogaert calls it – consists of making notes in his Atoma notebook. This notebook needs to be ‘complete’ in order to start with the second part of the writing process: the ‘linguistic creative process’ (again in Bogaert’s words). This part consists of the actual writing of the novel, which takes place digitally in a word processor and which was closely observed using Inputlog, a keystroke logging tool.
The paper will focus specifically on the genesis of one chapter of the novel in order to cover the complete process. Each chapter is focalised by one of the characters and the genesis of a chapter will therefore give more insight in the initial invention of the character and the process of putting his or her perspective into the right words. How can the ideas from the analogue notebook be traced in the digital manuscript? Which online exogenetic sources did Bogaert use to find the right words for his character? Ultimately, the paper will demonstrate the relationship between the notebook and the process of digital writing using a computer program. From a methodological point of view I will then try to answer the question: how can traditional endogenetic sources and keystroke logging data complement each other in a genetic analysis?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019


  • genetic criticism
  • keystroke logging
  • born-digital literature
  • literary writing
  • writing process


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