Sofortkorrektur regenerated: digital literary writing processes

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Despite passionate pleas, born-digital materials are still underrepresented within the field of textual scholarship (e.g. Lebrave 2013; Van Hulle 2014). Notable trailblazers (Kirschenbaum (2008; 2013), Ries (2010; 2018), but also Vauthier (2016), Fiormonte and Pusceddu (2006), Crombez and Cassiers (2017)) have shown that digital writing processes do leave traces behind, and quite rich traces at that. However, the conventions of word processing programmes are such that immediate correction (Sofortkorrektur) has become invisible (Matthijsen 2009). Related to this issue is the way in which the medium affects the writing process: from studies into non-literary texts, we know that digital writing processes are different from paper-based processes. There is much more rewriting during composition (see Van Waes & Schellens 2003; Goldberg et al 2003). Our project addresses these issues by combining textual scholarship with a cognitive writing process approach. Using the keystroke logging programme Inputlog (Leijten & Waes 2013), we are able to catch all traces of digital writing and editing processes.. In our pilot study, we have logged 9 writing sessions of Dutch author Walter van den Berg. This encompasses all his writing for one short story. These sessions will be used as the basis for this paper. Using Lindgren & Sullivan’s (2006) taxonomy, revisions will be manually labeled and interpreted. I will make a distinction between 'fresh' changes (immediately deleting and replacing newly produced text at the 'point-of-utterance') and revisions taking place in older parts of the text. The key questions I will cover in my talk are: How interpretable are point-of-utterance traces in keystroke logging files? Can we see moments of invention (Ferrer 2011) through iteration as well as 'Sofortkorrektur' at the point-of-utterance? How do point-of-utterance revisions differ from revision of text created earlier? I hope this small study will contribute to our understanding of digital creative writing processes. Short biography Floor Buschenhenke (1978) is a PhD Student at the NWO-funded project Track Changes: Textual scholarship and the challenge of digital literary writing (2018-2023), a collaboration between the Huygens ING (KNAW) in Amsterdam and the University of Antwerp. She has published three volumes of poetry and previously worked as an editor and language trainer. Bibliography Crombez, Thomas and Cassiers, Edith (2017). ‘Postdramatic Methods of Adaptation in the Age of Digital Collaborative Writing. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 32(1): 17–35. Ferrer, Daniel (2011). Logiques du brouillon : modèles pour une critique génétique. Paris: Éd. du Seuil. Fiormonte, Domenico, and Pusceddu, Cinzia (2006). The Text as Product and Process. History, Genesis, Experiments. In , E. Vanhoutte and M. de Smedt (Eds.) Manuscript, Variant, Genese – Genesis. Gent: Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde, pp. 109-128. Goldberg, Amie, Russell, Michael and Abigail Cook (2003). The Effect of Computers on Student Writing: A Meta-Analysis of Studies from 1992 to 2002. The Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment, 2(1): 3-51. Kirschenbaum, Matthew (2013). The .Txtual Condition: Digital Humanities, Born-Digital Archives, and the Future Literary. DHQ, 7(1). Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. (2008) Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press Lebrave, Jean-Louis (2013). Computer forensics: la critique génétique et l’écriture numérique. Genesis, 44: 137-147 Leijten, M., & Van Waes, L. (2013). Keystroke Logging in Writing Research: Using Inputlog to Analyze Writing Processes. Written Communication 30(3), 358-392 Lindgren, Eva, and Kirk PH Sullivan (2006). Analysing online revision. In: K.P.H. Sullivan & E. Lindgren (Eds.), Computer keystroke logging and writing: Methods and applications, (pp. 157-188). Oxford: Elsevier. Mathijsen, Marita (2009). Genetic textual editing: the end of an era. In: Was ist Textkritik? Zur Geschichte und Relevanz eines Zentralbegriffs der Editionswissenschaft. Beihefte zu Editio 28. Tübingen: Niemeyer, pp. 233-240. Ries, Thorsten (2010). "Die geräte Klüger als ihre Besitzer": Philologische Durchblicke hinter die Schreibszene des Graphical User Interface: Überlegungen zur digitalen Quellenphilologie, mit einer textgenetischen Studie zu Michael Speiers ausfahrt st. nazaire. Editio 24: 149-199. Ries, Thorsten (2018). The Rationale of the Born-Digital Dossier Génétique: Digital Forensics and the Writing Process: With Examples from the Thomas Kling Archive. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 33(2): 391–424. Van Hulle, Dirk (2014). Modern Manuscripts: The Extended Mind and Creative Undoing. London: Bloomsbury Van Waes, Luuk, and Schellens, Peter Jan (2003). Writing Profiles: The Effect of the Writing Mode on Pausing and Revision Patterns of Experienced Writers. Journal of Pragmatics, 35(6): 829–53. Vauthier, Bénédicte (2016). Genetic Criticism Put to the Test by Digital Technology: Sounding out the (Mainly) Digital Genetic File of El Dorado. Variants, 12-13: 163–86.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019


  • genetic criticism
  • writing process
  • revision
  • digital writing
  • literary writing


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