This happened again on Sunday over a very late lunch at Lori's Diner. After some heated exchanges and much emphatic waving of french fries, he cooled down enough to explain his frustration rationally.
His analysis was this: the 'creative dump' of my first draft produces a story with solid pillars but some unrefined brickwork. In subsequent drafts, instead of tinkering with the bricks, I tear down everything and start again. What I end up with is a technically well-constructed facade that masks what has ultimately become a flimsy story. Somehow, in the crafting process, I destroyed the interior strength that existed in the initial rendering of the story.
The story that prompted this outburst is Guinea Pig. Swallowing my pride and admitting he was right, I went back to rediscover what it was that drove the story in the first place and in doing so realised the subject matter had darkened with each draft. It's not supposed to be a pleasant story but it had become too dark and the theme of acceptable cruelty was too hard to see. So I knocked out a lot of bricks and voila! Restoration complete. And, like all good restorations, its true to the original but greatly improved.
I just hope it stands up to scrutiny from his Lordship...