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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Navigating through New York’s dating world

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Writing a book is a lot like dating. You entrust your heart and soul to a stranger with the hope of winning their affection and love blossoming.

My new book, Window Dressings, is the story of one woman’s quest to follow her instincts in the world of love and career. Her compass, a magical Maori mood ring, helps navigate the choppy waters of being single and unemployed in New York.

 Being a journalist has allowed me the opportunity to peer into the lives of the rich and famous. All too often their lives appear to be ideal. However, looks are deceiving, and Window Dressings reflects these realities in love, life and work. Much of what I saw and experienced living in New York, as well as the stories friends told me, became material I used in the novel.

Writing what you know and what you see, with a splash of imagination, is a great way to develop a story. One of the key components of a novel is having compelling characters. Because many of the characters in the Window Dressings are based on actual people, I created well-rounded characters. This helped as when I was imagining a character, I could also hear their voices in my head – and not in a weird, see-the-doctor sort of way!

The main character, Skye Silver, is a Jewish woman who is in an interfaith relationship, and she is dealing with turmoil in her personal life that spills into every other area of her world.

As Skye tries to navigate her way through the dating world of New York, so did I, having lived in Manhattan for eight years. So not only was I writing a book on dating, I was experiencing the endless excitement and disasters that occur on the way to finding Mr. Right.

Dating anywhere on the planet seems to be challenging. However, big cities such as Manhattan present a different set of issues – the choices are endless and what one often hears is, “Dating in New York is like being in a candy store.” Which, on one hand, is great, but if you are looking for the real deal, it gets depressing and frustrating going on endless dates to nowhere.

Both in dating and writing, there has to be structure. In order to write a great book, a writer needs to have a storyline and to make an outline. Similarly, people dating need to have a goal of what they are looking to find, whether it be a friendship, a future partner and maybe even finding the love of their life.

However, life, like writing, can be messy. Sometime you delete words (and people). Other times, it is all about letting go, and somehow both in books and in reality, situations often unfold as they do in the pages of a novel.

While I was writing Window Dressings, sometimes the pages tumbled out, as if my brain knew exactly where the story was going. I remember my surprise when 20 pages appeared in one writing session. Other times, I felt unsure, not exactly knowing where the characters were going next.

So while requiring structure, writing is also often a go-with-the-flow situation. But, unlike dating, one of the best aspects of being an author is having ultimate control, as you can put words in characters mouths and decide the outcome of a story. It is truly the closest to feeling like a higher power with the ability to direct other’s lives.

Dating, like writing, has it challenges, but sometimes, as in Window Dressings, the unexpected takes us on adventures we never would have imagined. It’s good to dream, read and believe, because often life imitates art, and both dating and novels have unexpected but interesting endings! Happy writing and happy reading!

Window Dressings is available at masadasiegelauthor.com

 

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