Epilogues revisited

I wrote an epilogue on my last project, but the more I look at it, the more it looks like just another chapter. Should the epilogue be written in a completely different style? A sort of summation? I’ve seen both summary epilogues and epilogues that read like chapter 31. Does the word Epilogue make us feel somehow that we are finished with a book? Is it the new way to write, “The End”? (Which I still like writing, btw.)

I’ve decided that my last project will have a sequel someday. That means, I think, that the epilogue can’t tie everything in a neat little bow. Some questions have to be left unanswered. Thus the Chapter 31 feel. I think I’m putting way too much thought into this. ^_^

How do you like your epilogues? I think we can all agree on one thing. The murderer should never be named in a summary epilogue. “By the way, old man Johnson did it. The End.”

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8 thoughts on “Epilogues revisited

  1. I like epilogues that give information that doesn’t pertain to the actual conflict of the story, but instead gives a glimpse of what the future will be like for the protagonists. I hate having an epilogue tie up the loose ends that the story should have resolved.

    I’m using one in my novel, and its purpose is to show one of the main characters with a Happily Ever After despite the circumstances that occur in the last chapters of the book itself.

  2. It’s interesting, it was when I was writing the first draft of the epilogue for my book Veiled in Shadows that I decided not one but three sequels were in order.
    The style of the epilogue need not be different, but it should be separate for a reason. If it really is just another chapter, just make it one.
    My epilogue fills in what happened after the end of the story for a number of characters. But in the case of a couple it also revealed the possibility of new stories later on. After all, life must go on

  3. I’m not a huge epilogue fan in my own writing. In fact, I’ve never used one. The climax occurs, the characters decompress and the end is, well, the end.

    But maybe chapter books and middle grade is easier that?

    Best luck figuring it out.

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