If you are an ardent reader, there is a likelihood that you have read a couple of novels that you feel did not end in the right way. You perhaps expected them to end with certain details that were missing but you did not get what you wanted.
In situations in which a book does not end the right way, it just might have an epilogue missing. There is a lot an epilogue can do for an already amazing story.
As a writer, if you must enjoy all that an epilogue has to offer, then, you will need to learn how to write a book epilogue.
Once you know how to write a book epilogue, you are on your way to ending your stories in an ideal way and can always leave a lasting impression on readers.
Before going on to find out how to write a book epilogue, you should know exactly what a book epilogue is.
What is a Book Epilogue?
An epilogue is a device in literature that is generally considered to be a part of a story. However, it is not dependent on the story. It functions separately. It comes in handy when authors are looking to tighten any loose ends that appear at the end of a story.
If a story does not clearly define the fate of certain characters, a book epilogue can be used in getting this done properly.
An epilogue appears after the last chapter of a story.
Due to this, several people consider it to be the direct opposite of a prologue.
Although not officially the direct opposite of a book prologue, an epilogue can be said to do the opposite of a prologue as it helps a story close down properly.
Epilogues can be used in various types of novels.
However, they are more frequently used in horror novels and crime fiction. They are used to give an impression that the challenges faced by the protagonist are not over and are still somewhat around.
What Should an Epilogue Do?
Now that you know what an epilogue is, there is one more thing you should know before writing an epilogue; you need to find out what an epilogue should do.
When armed with a knowledge of the things an epilogue should do, you will not struggle to create very catchy epilogues.
In as much as there is a lot an epilogue can do in a book, it is generally advised that you only use it when it is necessary. If you are able to get a perfect ending without using an epilogue, then, you will have no need to write one.
If you want your epilogue to be catchy, then you should only write details that will serve as an augmentation to the actual story.
Benefits of Epilogue in a Story
It Should Reveal the Fate of the Character when the Story Ends
When a story is intriguing, it is only normal for readers to pick an interest in some characters in the story. While it might be impossible to let the readers know what happened to these characters while the story is on, with an epilogue, you can let readers know how the various characters fared at the end of the story. Beyond simply helping readers know what happened to the characters, a book epilogue can be used to reveal the impact of the story on some characters.
An Epilogue Should Give Credibility to the Theme of a Story
With a book epilogue, you can drive home the lessons, as well as the theme of the story. This is relatively easy since a book epilogue is not officially a part of the story.
It Can be used in setting up A Sequel
Not everyone has plans of writing a sequel when they set out to write a story. However, along the line, the need to write a sequel might come up.
As a writer, if you have any plans for a sequel, you can keep your readers interested by making use of a book epilogue.
You can simply use the epilogue to let readers know that the story continues. This can be done by drop hints of a fresh installment.
Also, you can bring a twist into the entire setup. With this twist, your readers will be very interested in finding out a continuation of the story.
Must a Prologue Come Before an Epilogue
Having a prologue before the first chapter of your story and an epilogue after the last chapter of a story might seem perfect. However, things do not have to be this way. You do not need to have a prologue in a story before such a story can have an epilogue.
There are several stories that have epilogues but do not have prologues and yours could be one of them. However, if you think having a prologue and epilogue in one book will make it special, then, you can go ahead and do so.
Must an Epilogue have a Title?
There are really no rules that state whether an epilogue should have a title or not. The implication of this is you simply need to stick to what works for you. If you have a befitting title for an epilogue, then it is okay if you go on to give it one.
In the absence of this, you can simply define it as an epilogue.
How to Ensure an Epilogue Turns Out Great
Knowing the step-by-step approach in writing a book epilogue is great. However, for you to write a catchy and unique epilogue, there are things you need to understand;
- The tone of an epilogue has to be different from the tone of other parts of the story.
- You have to write the epilogue from a different perspective from the story.
- You should use the epilogue as a device for reflecting on the character’s life.
All things being equal, your epilogue should not be as long as any of the chapters in your story. However, you do not have to stick to this rule.
How to Write a Book Epilogue in 7 Steps
Do you wish to learn how to write a book epilogue? If yes, then you simply need to follow the steps below;
If you want to write a book epilogue that will draw the attention of readers, then the first thing you need to do is to carry out ample research. This involves taking a very close look at some of the epilogues written by world-renowned authors.
The fact that you are an established writer does not mean you know how to write a book epilogue properly. The implication of this is you will need to narrow down your research to authors that have a reputation for writing killer epilogues.
Everyone has a purpose for writing an epilogue. If you are unable to find your purpose for writing an epilogue, then, it will be impossible to write the right book epilogue.
Still, on purpose, the epilogue might be a tool for shedding more light on the positive information that the characters were able to pick during the story. In essence, you need to have a reason why you need a book epilogue.
Epilogues are not known to take place in the present. All things being equal, they are futuristic. With this in mind, you will need to select a date for your epilogue. It is up to you to decide how near or far the date will be.
While you are free to always select whatever date you want, you will need to give it ample time so readers feel the effect of an actual future and not just a day after the date the story ends.
Writing an epilogue is sometimes a step in the right direction.
Nonetheless, there are times a story does not need an epilogue. If a story is able to have everything resolved just as it ends, then, it definitely does not need an epilogue.
So, before going on to write an epilogue for your story, you have to be certain that the story is one that will do a lot better with an epilogue. Once you make up your mind about having an epilogue in your story, the next thing you need to do is get your epilogue structured.
The story already has a structure and it is okay if the epilogue follows its structure.
However, since the epilogue is a different part of the story, it can have a fresh structure.
Once you are done with a good structure, you have to take out time in outlining a plot for the epilogue. At this point, the fate has already been fixed. So, what you need to get done is determine what took place on a particular date in your story. Write down notable events which would make your epilogue unique.
Not everyone aims to write a sequel after a successful book.
Nonetheless, if you fall into the category of people that are looking to write a sequel after a successful book, this is the point where you make use of the book epilogue in setting up a sequel.
This has to be done very subtly for it to have a major effect on your readers.
Furthermore, if you do not have any plans of writing a sequel, you still might want to have a couple of loose ends. This way, when you consider writing a sequel, you can simply pick everything up from where the story ended.
For an epilogue to be effective, it has to be straight to the point. All you have to do with an epilogue is satisfy the reader’s curiosity. This means you will need to always work towards keeping your epilogues short. If you cannot get this done then, you perhaps have not mastered how to write a book epilogue.
The journey towards learning how to write a book epilogue might be difficult. However, if you stick to the steps already provided in this article, it is only a matter of time before you know how to write a book epilogue perfectly.