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Epilogues: Finishing Her Up

by Kellyn Roth |
April 6, 2016

Hello Everyone! Some of my images have disappeared from various pages. *clears throat* I, um, accidently deleted them. So … some posts may be missing their images. Including this one. Thanks!

I told you about prologues last week, so it makes sense that I should talk about epilogues this week!

Think of your novel as a letter. It has a beginning, middle, and end. The epilogue is essentially the “p.s.” section of your story. 🙂
Epilogues are usually a peep into “happily-ever-after.” Most of the time they take place many years after the actual end of the book.
Like prologues, they aren’t necessary to the plot, but they add something extra for the readers, especially if your book isn’t going to have a sequel or is the last book in a series.
On the other hand, you could use an epilogue to set up a sequel. I won’t go into that now, though.

A few suggestions for writing epilogues

None of these are rules; they are just ideas.

  • Use a different perspective than the rest of the book. If you wrote the book in 3rd person, try writing the epilogue in first. Maybe even try present tense if you want it to convey the feeling that the book happened long ago, and the epilogue is a taste of the happiness the characters are now experiencing.
  • Establish a new norm for world and characters. During some books, worlds and characters undergo huge changes. For instance, if your magical kingdom was under a spell that gets broken by your brave heroine at the end, you may want to write an epilogue to show how things are after the evil enchantment is no longer controlling the world.
  • Keep is short. Less is more.
  • Don’t overdo happily-ever-after. Yes, yes, we all want your characters to be happy! But a perfect world takes away realism. Don’t have everything be perfect for your characters. Be realistic.
  • Don’t wrap up too much in the epilogue. The epilogue isn’t for wrapping up; the falling action (end of the book) is. The epilogue is the post script, not the “sincerely yours.”

Most epilogues are superfluous. For the most part, I’d stay clear of them, but occasionally they can add something nice to a novel.
Well, that’s all for today!
Signing out,
~Kellyn Roth
p.s. Do any of your favorite books have epilogues? Do you know of any epilogues you just hated? What do you like about epilogues? What do you hate about them? Have you ever written a book with an epilogue? How did it work out? I’d love to hear from you in the comment! 🙂

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12 Responses

    1. I know! It’s so perfect! It’s one of those things that makes me go, “Ooooh, why didn’t I think of that first?” Of course, my Common Sense (what little I have, that is) reminds me that I wasn’t even born at the time … so I couldn’t very well be coming up with Golden Lines. 😛

  1. I love reading epilogues. They make my heart feel happy 😛 Serious though, (like you said in above comment) it is nice to see how the characters ended up and it’s mostly nice and happy. It’s like “Life goes on. And it doesn’t totally stink.” I could seriously just read an entire book of like, just an epilogue (if it’s characters I love) even without a plot. XD
    Great post!

    1. You know, I think I could do that, too! I mean, about … Idk, A Girl of the Limberlost or one of the Jane Austen books or … Jane Eyre. Like, more details. She didn’t even tell us what her little boy’s name was! *sobs* Names. Are. Important. 😉
      *suddenly wants to write a book that’s entirely an epilogue* *or at least read one* WRITE ONE FOR ME EVA!!! XD

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