Jumping through hoops: Non-linearity of long-term writing processes

Floor Buschenhenke, Luuk Van Waes, Rianne Conijn, K.H. van Dalen-Oskam, Dirk van Hulle, Mariëlle Leijten

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan conferentieAbstractWetenschappelijk


How do literary writers organize their writing process while composing stories over multiple writing sessions? Building on the framework of studies that relate to smaller and shorter processes, this paper reports on a case study addressing long-term writing processes with a special focus on nonlinearity. The corpus consists of the processes of 11 literary writers creating short stories, spanning
240 hours, logged with Inputlog (Leijten & Van Waes, 2013).
The standard distinction in revision analysis between the leading edge and non-linear insertions is difficult to implement (Baaijen, Galbraith, & De Glopper, 2012). Moreover, in the context of longterm writing processes it is extra complicated, both technically and conceptually (e.g., if an author
alternates working on several chapters within the same document, can we really say there is only one leading edge?).
Therefore, we propose a quantitative approach to non-linearity, using cursor 'jumps' as a basis (Perrin & Wildi, 2008; Kollberg & Severinson Ekhlund, 2002). From these jumps, a number of variables are calculated such as their duration, size in characters, and location in the document.
Using this new approach, a non-hierarchical clustering is performed to characterise the writing sessions. These multi-session writing processes consist of different writing cycles; episodes with varying dominance of subprocesses. In our presentation, we will demonstrate that we can use non-linearity
measures to identify, locate and (comparatively) characterize these phases.


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