Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Library & Information Science


Dr. Lynne McKechnie


The e-writing experience is new and not yet fully understood and there is a story to be told about the enigmatic term e-writing and its impact on authors in the e-paradigm. In this study I collected understandings of e-writing by exploring the experiences of literary authors through qualitative case studies. I set out to find answers amidst two interconnected plots of inquiry. The first plot examined e language, in particular the term e-writing, and asked how authors understand the term e-writing and how their experiences contributed to that meaning. The second storyline asked how the digital revolution and resulting e-culture changed their work, writing practices, and conception of themselves as authors.

Eight authors participated in this study. The first author was interviewed in a pilot study and seven authors participated in the subsequent main study. Data was collected using semi- structured interviews that were recorded and transcribed, lists compiled of the authors’ works that included information about publication methods, and screenshots of the authors’ online presence such as social media participation and personal websites. Data was analyzed simultaneously with collection and the result is a narrative text describing the e-writing experiences of literary authors.

Unraveling the enigma of e-writing was a task complicated by its own conclusions. The findings of this study emerged as the story progressed and climaxed in the understanding that e-writing as a term is not used or understood by authors beyond the general context they derived from the prefix e. Therefore, the e-writing experiences of literary authors can be more accurately described as a writing experience influenced by or situated in e-culture. These experiences revealed current authorship as being in an era of transition, where new media, new relationships between readers and authors, and new forays into virtual community are changing the work of authors, but also where residual print culture has a stronghold on our understandings and practices.