Title: To Call Home
Genre: Commercial Fiction
She made so many marks and scribbles with her red pen that Steven wondered if he’d have a recognizable poem left after she was done. He looked around at the other three workshop participants in their group; no one scribbled as much as Charlotte. Even as others offered their feedback, she continued making notes. He was on the edge of his seat when it came her turn to speak, dying to know what about his poem warranted so much red ink.
“I think it’s a little confused,” she said, without looking up.
He frowned. “What parts don’t you understand?”
Her chin snapped up and her eyes met his; she didn’t blink. He got the distinct feeling he’d insulted her somehow. He smiled to show good will, but he didn’t see the flicker of attraction in her eyes that he saw in most women when he smiled at them. He was sure she felt it. But she hid it well.
“I’m not confused. Your poem is.”
He looked down at four stanzas of what he considered near-perfect poetry.
“Some of it’s a lot of ornate description. Especially the first few lines of the third stanza. But the entire first stanza is really concise. Like you chose each word for a reason. The style isn’t consistent. And you need to watch your line breaks. They tend to coincide with punctuation marks, which is easy, but not very inventive.”
How strange it was, to be stung by harsh words from such pretty lips.