It’s still there

My book cover for Restraint began with a thousand crazy tasks, and ended here:

Ninety percent of the saga–junk shop scavenging, spray painting, sewing, pinning, upholstering, dyeing, borrowing, eBaying and freaking out–has been has been cropped or photoshopped out of the final cover.

And yet everyone agrees that it’s all still there, under the surface. Even if you can’t see the candelabra or the riding boots or the knee buttons on the breeches, they’re there. They’re there in the way the model posed and the way the artist turned the photo into a painting. Somehow, they’re all there in the feeling.

I found the same thing in writing the novel itself. Not only is the book half the size of its first draft, but I wrote hundreds of thousands of words that were never in any version. Those character backgrounds and interviews, throwaway scenes and backstories are all there in the subtext of the final version.

It wasn’t until I reduced a 20-page prologue to four words in Chapter 12 that I understood. I needed  to write that prologue just as I needed to sew three–not two, not four–perfectly matched buttons on to the knees of those buckskin-yellow breeches. The prologue was important, and it was okay to crop it out of the picture.

Because it’s still there. Underneath.