Sorry you had to hear that, KatieC. I've been dealt similar experiences.
I certainly respect those like you, Jan and Kristi who've done work for hire projects, it's NOT easy, and I say that as someone who struggles to make my own ideas work.
Every time I try writing to a strict formula, whatever I'm weak at is only further intensified. My strengths are all but lost in the glaring flaws of not executing the formula well, and that's on top of writing to tight deadlines and the unrelenting mistress that is brevity.
I get why we have formulas, but there's just a BIG gap sometimes between understanding the formula versus ACTUALLY EXECUTING IT!
Bravo to all who can do it and NOT read boring and slow!