The rough drafts are all far superior to the post-workshop revisions.
The ones that run far over the word limit are engaging; the ones that obey it are tedious.
The ones that try to be subtle and understated are artificially sentimental; the ones that I was worried were too melodramatic have genuine pathos.
The ones my professor liked are pretentious, overdone college-style dung. English majors call it literary masturbation; I call it form-fucking. Ahab's Wife by Sena J. Aslund is not the pinnacle to which I wish to aspire.
The ones both my professor and I hated are actually not so bad if you judge them on their own merits instead of comparing them to the work of fellow workshoppers or the Scribner Memorial Anthology for Victims of the Iowa System (which even the book jacket editor can only laud as "remarkable").
70% of comments from other workshoppers were parroted straight from Madison Smart Bell's rubrics in Narrative Design, with nary an ounce of effort spent on reading it as an organic, unique work in progress instead of What Not to Do: Classic Textbook Example #53. To be fair, I unwittingly did the same on several occasions. I am deeply ashamed.
The ones I was seriously embarrassed with are still terrible, and my fellow workshoppers were spot on with their comments on those particular stories.
The ones I wrote outside of class are even worse.
Genre writing does not, in fact, suck--it is merely judged in the wrong context.
Conclusion? Maybe I'll be a little less utterly crushed if I don't get into CRWR210 next year.
Then again, maybe I'm cursing the grapes before they've gone sour.