Without judging the contents of these classificatory concepts in advance, contents that are always specific and possibly missing in certain cases, they enable us to determine, at the level of the abstract model proposed by this typology, a series of seven major stages constituting the avant-texte as a chain of “partial processes.” The avant-texte can be interpreted in its overall specificity by assessing to what extent each one of these processes makes its presence felt, and by examining their nature, content, relative intensity, and the way they link up together. It is these processes that are ultimately interpreted by the study of a text’s genetics.
—Provisional avant-texte stage: before any verifiable appearance of the compositional project, this process transforms the collection of sources at the author‘s disposal in his or her own manuscripts and work notes, into a pending structure potentially oriented toward this project.
—Exploratory avant-texte stage: before any verifiable decision made to undertake the compositional project, this process constitutes, for the writer, an informal exploration of possible ideas, during the course of which a compositional preproject takes shape.
—Preparatory avant-texte stage: the initial process by which the project proper takes shape, a decision-making process, but also one of conception and in certain cases, of planning.
—Structuring at avant-texte stage: the processes by which the conception and initial planning of the project are reworked in a compositional framework, in terms of overarching and partial structuring.
—Research at avant-texte stage: the processes by which the writer, in certain cases, finds it necessary to equip him- or herself with further documentation, in greater or lesser quantities, to sift and transform it for integration into the composition.
—Composition at avant-texte stage: the processes by which the composition proper is performed, through the succession of rough drafts to the definitive manuscript.
—Postcompositional avant-texte stage: the process of definitive rewriting and checking performed, after the composition proper, on a fair copy of the definitive manuscript, then on the proofs that will be used in publishing the text. The final handwritten changes are recorded on the set of typed-up proofs bearing the writer’s signature under the pronouncement “bon a tirer” (de Biasi 1996b, 38-39).