Review of "Idea Man," a single story in a collection by Carole Fowkes

Two short stories straight from a writer's nightmares and two scrumptious, original recipes.

In Out of Character, a novelist who prides herself on creating realistic characters, is writing a gritty murder mystery. Unfortunately, her story takes a more personal turn when her villain is bent on making her his next victim.

To what lengths would a highly successful novelist go to overcome her writer’s block?

In Idea Man, Lucinda’s muse materializes in his thong bathing suit and offers her a story she can’t refuse.

An amusing story about an author that has finally hit the end of her rope but help arrives just in the nick of time.  Despite the somewhat unconventional appearance of Lucinda's muse, what else is a writer to do but go along for the ride?

I found myself enjoying this story quite a bit.  Fowkes has a charming style of writing that may not make you laugh out loud but will definitely keep you smiling throughout.  I found myself getting really involved with this story as I read it, eagerly wanting to find out how the story would end (in every sense).

While the conclusion of "Idea Man" was not exactly disappointing, I found myself being highly annoyed by Lucinda's character by the end.  A muse appears before her and forces her to write a novel that is not "her genre."  She pitches a fit the entire time and, essentially, remains unchanged by the whole experience.  She's still just as close-minded at the end.  If she can't see the series potential that the muse left her with, it's certainly no coincidence then that she has writer's block.

So, as an author, I was annoyed.  As a reader, I must admit I was entertained.  Fowkes certainly has her work cut out for herself by creating a target audience of both short story readers and writers.  But I would venture to say that this story has wider appeal than that.  If you've ever suffered from writer's block (even if it was just that school essay), you'll find yourself appreciating "Idea Man."

3.5/5 stars
Reviewed by Alain Gomez

Buy this story on Amazon or B&N.


  1. Not exactly your typical muse, eh?
    As you said, IDEA MAN was an entertaining story. Ms Fowkes has a fertile imagination.

    I was pleased that this story did not end up as I'd expected. I like it when a writer surprises me.

    What did you think of the other story? That one had a completely different flavor. Fowkes seems to be extremely versatile in her writing.

    I've read her Horror Stories and her Mystery/Noire/SciFi. She's hard to pin down as a writer, but what an imagination!

    1. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to read her other story. When people send me collections, I usually ask them to pick a single story for me to feature. I want the focus on this blog to always be on the short fiction itself. All too often authors will put together these novel-length collections just for the sake of having a novel-length work.

      But I'm glad the other story is good as well! I really did like Idea Man.

  2. Alain, thank you for your review. It was interesting to get your take, as a writer as well as a reader, on my story.


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