Hello. I'm currently working on the final draft of my second novel. Ever since I started taking my writing seriously, I've kept a Google sheet with a running tab of the time I've spent writing, with the number of words written per session and per minute and and the running totals for my various drafts. I am a big baseball fan and I enjoy numbers and seeing the way they change over time. With that in mind, I had a question.
Obviously, your final draft of a novel is going to be quite a bit different from your first draft. My question is whether there is any way to objectively measure just how different? I'd like a piece of software or a formula or something along those lines that can compare two manuscripts and basically tell me how similar they are.
To this point, all I've been able to do is look at word counts of what has been added and what has been deleted, but that doesn't tell me about the changes made that didn't necessarily affect word count – i.e., things being taken out and replaced during the same session.
My first draft of this novel was around 52000 words. My current final draft is at 57000 words. However, if you look at all of my daily sessions and add up the days when I was tightening up, you'll see that I've taken away 3000 words since my first draft. Then, if you add up the days where I was adding things, you'll see that I've added 8000 words. So that's basically 11000 words of absolute changes to what was a 52000 word manuscript, which is one way to look at it – but I know that more has changed, obviously. Some things are just worded better, etc.
Perhaps a powerful plagiarism checker could perform this task.
If anyone has any thoughts, other than pointing out that I'm a dork, I'd be interested to hear them.
Source: reddit post