I believe in the trial and error method of working. Try, fail, try again, put it to the side, think about it, try something else. I have a hard time conceptualizing whether something will work until I do and see it. If I were very good at drawing it might help but I have my doubts. I've struggled with this piece that I had started it about a year ago. It is from the same board of spectacular blistered maple that I used for two other pieces. For some reason, I'm not sure what, I decided to separate this book-match with something between them. I first used and sculpted a piece of walnut. I wasn't sure about the walnut so I went ahead and started painting the maple to see if they would work together with the colors, which it didn't. Not knowing where to go with the piece, I put it aside.
As I was working on the new pieces, I pulled it out again to see if I could come up with a better idea of joining them together. After playing around with a few ideas I went ahead and cut some pieces of cherry with a rectangle in the middle. I wasn't sure about it until I put it on the wall and realized it was a horrible idea. It just doesn't work together and the pieces are too far apart.
So I went back and cut some piece of walnut (so it could hide more easily in the shadow) in way to make the maple closer together, while keeping a small rectangle in the middle because I wanted to minimize the amount of wood between the two pieces. I like this version much better.
My inspiration for the above piece came from working on the book-matched wedges in which I decided to use a couple of small laths of walnut to join them. After struggling with the orientation a while, I finally decided to attach inclines going in opposite directions because I thought it was more complex/confusing to see the angle going in one direction but grain pattern going in the same direction. The two pieces of walnut space the wedges about an inch apart. I think it could work as a horizontal piece but it definitely works vertically. I'll probably set it for either direction.