Sunday, July 29, 2007

Time Traveling with an Epilogue

I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [no spoilers, I promise!] and once again I must tip my hat to J.K. Rowling for delivering the goods. Not only is the story action packed and emotional, it has something so many books don’t these days...[and this is just my opinion, not really a spoiler]...the book has a satisfying ending thanks in part to the Epilogue.

One thing a lot of people complain about in romance is the Epilogue. There’s an often bitter division of the camps on this issue. Some people hate epilogues. They prefer a book to end where it ends and let their imaginations fill in what might happen to the characters the day after, or the year after or the decade after the author leaves them. Some books warrant that and it’s fine.

But some books just beg for a little bit more beyond the happy ending. I personally love epilogues. I don’t use them all the time, but I love when a story warrants one, because I really want to know what happens to my characters years in the future. It’s like getting the HEA and then some. It’s like time travel.

To me there’s nothing like peering through a misty window into the nebulous future and getting to see a glimpse of the people you’ve come to know and love. It’s nice to know how they’ve turned out and that the happily ever after really is ever after.

I have official epilogues in only three of my published works so far:

Bonfire of the Vampires
The Demon of Pelican Bluff
Flight of the Valkyrie


Which camp are you in? Do you think epilogues are overkill? Or are they a satisfying treat after a hearty meal?

3 comments:

MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott said...

For me, it depends on the book. I was definately glad that JK Rowling added the epilogue here, since I was very unsatified with the book until about halfway through. But I thought all the little questions were tied up nicely in the end and that I had a shiney happy feeling afterward. I think I've only used epilogues a few times myself, and I don't tend to rely on them to finish the book. Since I think in terms of series, I guess I figue all questions can be answered in the next book.

-Kat

Christine Norris said...

Both my first two books have epilogues. They are just like you describe, a little glimpse into what happened 'after'.

I haven't used them in my series at all, because they just haven't seemed to need them.

Skylar Masey said...

I've heard it said that editors hate epilogues as well as prologues. But both seem to be on the rise again as far as use goes. I myself think epilogues can be great, especially for a series to hook the reader to get the next book. Though you can't spring a character on the reader at the last minute, without atleast a bit of foreshadowing. I also think that epilogues can be extremely useful to tie up loose strings an author might have (as in those not taken care of by overcoming the BBM).

So I guess I'm in the camp of Epilogues (and Prologues) get a thumbs up from me. (Or maybe I've ridden too many roller coaster and my brains are scrambled. Lol! But the thumbs up from an operator always means good to go!)