I've received two marks back so far: a C+ for my Advanced Fiction story, which tore me to shreds; and a C+ for my Life Writing story, which encouraged me again. The weird thing here is that the first story was terrible, and the second story I really enjoyed; so really, my reactions should have been vice versa.
However, both feelings related to the comments I got on both stories; and the Life Writing tutor explained that the reason for the low grade was that my story didn't focus enough on character development, but that it was still "good" and "I can tell an effective story".
I was reasonably happy then, but now I feel so much better. My history lecturer told me after class that my last essay was much better than my essays in my third-year summer school paper (in which I got an A and a B+); and my Fiction lecturer, who hated my first story with every facet of his being (my words, not his), said that my second story was much better than my first. I'm reasonably happy with the draft I handed in today, although it still needs reworking.
I store all of my best pieces in a folder entitled WIP. I'm starting to understand that a story never does finish. The only time it's not a WIP is when it has no essence, no spirit to continue.
I'm really, really happy with this. I'm learning so much, not by being taught but by reading more and writing more, by seeing what works and what doesn't. I feel like, now, I'm getting somewhere.