Do Prologues Require Epilogues?

No. Books with prologues don’t require epilogues. And vice versa. 

In fact, neither is required. It’s up to you to decide once you’ve written your story. 

Ask yourself if they improve your story.

Don’t write either one if you are just using them to dump a bunch of information on the reader. You might as well begin or end the actual story in a chapter instead. 

The only time I would really encourage the use of prologues and epilogues is when writing a series. They are especially helpful to readers as they move forward from one book to another or for readers who may jump in to read in the middle of a series, not aware of what has gone on in past books.

One last thing to consider. Research says only about 40 percent of readers actually read them. So, are they wasted effort?

Personally, I like writing them because they seem to “ground” me to my writing and get me psychologically “into” my story.

The good thing is that it seems there is no “write” or “wrong” answer to this question of whether or not to use prologues or epilogues.

Rocky Road, Anyone?

 

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The subject of writing a series of books has come up, again. 

Since a series has value for both authors and readers, let’s look at just how authors can accomplish this.  

The key to writing a series is to find a commonality and then keep reproducing it.

You can:

1- Tell virtually the same story, but from the viewpoints of different characters.

2- Tell different stories in the same setting. (Stories set at the beach, a certain city, etc.)

3- Tell similar stories in different settings (CSI is a good example of this)

4- Stories around the same theme or profession (sports, babysitters, cooks, teachers, fire fighters, doctors)

5- Stories of characters that were once children, and are now grown up.

6- Characters who have different adventures by traveling to different countries. 

7- Stories that simply continue from the previous book.

Look for that common thread and then weave your story in a new and exciting way.

If a reader enjoys your first book, chances are they will buy the second in the series. Then, if that second book delivers, consider them hooked. 

However, even good things can get boring. My husband can attest to this because he is finally getting tired of Rocky Road ice cream, which he has been eating for YEARS. He is trying different brands right now hoping for a slight change in flavor. (The latest favorite has chocolate covered almonds).

Something similar may happen when readers tire of mysteries and seek out different authors who may use a fresh twist to their plots. 

So, be careful not to make your series too long and too predictable.

Write each story so that it can be enjoyed on its own merits, while giving readers just enough pertinent background information from previous books in the series. 

Do everything you can to make sure your road to success isn’t a rocky one!