In order to become a more proficient writer, you need to be able to think of your writing in "global" and "local" ways. According to the Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing Concise Edition, "You revise locally whenever you make changes to a text that affect only the one or two sentences that you are currently working on. In contrast, you revise globally when a change in one part of your draft drives changes in other parts of the draft" (275).
Basically, global revision involves the big picture of your essay; it relates to ideas, purpose, audience, evidence, analysis, and organization.
Local revision focuses more on sentence-level revision: changing words so that a sentence is clearer, correcting grammatical or spelling errors, etc.
As a writer, part of your job is to be a successful global reviser as well as a successful local reviser.
Here are some strategies, and reasons behind the strategies, for using local and global revision.
1. Throw out a draft and start over completely.
2. Cross out significant portions and rewrite.
- The original may have been too confusing for the reader.
3. Cut and paste; move parts around; write new transitions, etc.
- Parts of the essay need to be reorganized.
4. Add/revise topic sentences of paragraphs; add transitions, etc.
- Writer recognizes that signposts to the reader are not clear enough.
5. Add new material.
6. Delete material.
7. Rewrite and/or edit sentences.
- Passage is grammatically incorrect.
- Passage is unclear, choppy, wordy, or lacked voice.
- Passage is not focused on the topic.
(adapted from Ramage, 2009)