As promised, this week we will hash out the last of the information I’ve come across regarding the use of epilogues.
The consensus seems to be that an epilogue only be written if one’s story isn’t complete without it—if it adds value to the book that exists outside of the main story.
Remember what we said last week: an epilogue is like bumping into an old friend years later and catching up. It answers the question of just what they have been up to and can even “suggest” what things might be like in the future.
The decision of whether to write an epilogue—or not—comes down to deciding what lasting impression you want to leave on your reader.
It should give positive emotional impact. For instance, if the ending was less-than-happy, a positive epilogue could be used to reassure the reader that the character(s) do, indeed, end up all right…that the decisions they made were the correct ones, after all.
If you have a valid reason for keeping the information out of your last chapter, then by all means, go ahead and write it.
But, if the information in the epilogue is CRUCIAL to your story, you need to include it in the final chapter, instead.