“The Curious Touch of Cupid’s Son” by Dave Diotalevi

A comedy novel consists of two elements: comedy and story. The most important thing for the writer to get right is the balance between the two. (With an erotic comedy there are three elements: more on that later.) What sounds witty and fresh in the first page starts to pall after a whole chapter. The trick is to start some kind of a conflict to take our minds off the humour, then slip the funny parts back in later.

The first few pages of this story for example: One event, followed by a plethora of discussion about the many and varied manifestations of the event, interspersed with just enough backstory to make the event itself — a woman having an orgasm in a crowded elevator (Aha! Finally got your attention) — fade to unimportance. If you look at how many multi-syllable words I stuffed into this paragraph, you’ll get an idea.

Fortunately, Chapter Two starts with a bang and the introduction of a fascinating character. Her immediate, inevitable conflict with our hero lifts the story and starts it running. From there on it is a parade of interesting and mostly likeable characters, (except for the villains, of course) a decent external mystery to be solved, and an overall story arc with a surprising and serious conclusion, all interspersed with a light, self-deprecating humour.

The other thing to remember about comedy is that laughter is a way of releasing tension between people. So, every time you put a laugh in your story, you undercut the tension you have been building. For example, in any sex scene there has to be a certain amount of sexual tension between the two participants. Sparks must fly. This story contains one of the longest erotic scenes I have ever read, mainly because the participants banter their way through the whole thing. The result is one of the least erotic sex scenes I have ever read, although definitely the funniest.

A fun tale, well worth plowing through the first chapter to get to the good part.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)







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