The first draft is finished. The first thoughts are on paper. Now comes revisions. No first draft is a masterpiece; before turning in the final product, it's time to make cuts, additions and re-writes.
Revising is one of the most important steps. Listed below are the "high order concerns" you should focus on: organization, which is making sure each point transitions easily to the next; cohesiveness, which is ensuring that an outsider can read your essay and connect the dots between the story and what you're trying to convey, and development, when each paragraph is as short or as long as it needs to be so that there is a balance between facts from the story and your interpretation/argument.
Note: before revising, you should take a small break where you don't think about the essay. It should last less than an hour, but long enough so that you come back with a neutral outlook about the paper than the initial "this is perfect!"
Most good papers go through multiple drafts and therefore multiple revisions. Try different methods to see which one helps you the most. For various examples, check out our Archives.
As seen on TV...
"I try to use different methods - not just de-familiarizing, not just peer-reviewing. Sometimes I need to step back and take a break, but usually, talking to someone about my essay helps me get past the writer's block. It's like a Dr. House discovery - a random comment from someone can cause the 'Eureka' moment." - Cassie
"Revising is the most important part of my process. Because I absolutely hate outlining and planning, I tend to have extremely unfocused and messy rough drafts. I just tend to work better by diving straight into the drafting process and then spending more time revising. Because of this, I go through multiple drafts before I am anywhere near satisfied with my paper. It's frustrating sometimes, but it works for me!" -Leanna
"The Story of an Hour" Essay Final Draft with Commentary
"Trifles" Essay Final Draft with Commentary
To Kill a Mockingbird Essay Final Draft with Commentary