I've stated before that this past semester's workshop has been a crash course in contradictions. If my first workshop wasn't proof that "you can't please everyone" (where I got comments back and two people had marked the same dozen lines in the story, one marking each as "love it" and the other person marking them "cut it"), then the final comments from the instructor should have been proof enough.
While I was at the Kenyon Review workshop working for a week focused wholly on openings, I brought in the first three pages of a short story called "Cake." I took almost all of the suggestions it improve the opening because that was undoubtedly the weakest part of it.
Among the other changes I had made was implementing a suggestion -- Brad Kessler's suggestion I believe -- to refer to an unnamed character as "the witch," not just once but throughout the story.
I reworked it over the past six months and as we only had two workshops per person this semester, our instructor wanted us to turn in either a rewrite of a workshop story or another story that we'd recently worked on. This story wouldn't be workshopped by the group but he would send up back comments. I sent in "Cake."
I have his comments back.
He stated that he liked the story, that it was my smoothest and strongest story that he's seen, but that the whole "witch" thing was just too corny.
I need more readers to weigh in on the situation. The change is minor, cosmetic really, but it is now an annoyingly important detail.