The Epilogue Delimma

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Lately, it seems every book I read has an epilogue.

What’s up with that?

For a writer, what’s the reasoning behind writing an epilogue?

And, for the reader, what purpose does one serve?

And, finally, are they a hinderance, a help, or does it even matter?

I decided to do a little research.

I began with a working definition:

An epilogue is a section at the end of a book that serves as a comment on, or a conclusion to, what has happened after the end of the book— a wrap up of the story.

It seems there are five reasons to use an epilogue. They are: 

1) To Give Closure: Epilogues provide information about what happens later. Writers use them when they feel that writing these details in the story itself would weaken the climax of their book.

2) To provide information about how the story turns out especially if it is years later.

3) To summarize: If the character has been championing a certain point of view, the author can use the epilogue to drive the key points home.

4) To give resolution to ambitious endings.

5) To pique the reader’s interest in reading the next book in a series.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Have you used them yourself?

Next week, I will tackle other aspects of the EPILOGUE DELIMMA.

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Why Not Write an Epigraph?

What is An Epigraph? (Not to be confused with epitaph).   26980408514_eda03edd2c

This is a technique I love, but had no idea there was an actual technical term for it.

Basically, it is a quote, short poem, excerpt from a book, Bible verse, stanza of a song, etc. that is set at the beginning of a text.

Epigraphs are often used at the beginning of chapters or they can be displayed on a separate page in a book, prior to the Prologue.

They set the stage—the tone—for the story that follows because they link to the general theme in some way.

An epigraph is used to attract…to mystify…to capture interest.

Here’s an example from my soon-to-be-released book, The Choice: Will’s Last Testament:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

You may have read this Bible verse before, but set-apart on its own page, it’s given weight… importance.

It gives direction for all that is to come.