I’ve been writing the epilogue of my second book, and I’m fascinated by the idea of this relatively new chapter in a story.
Telling the reader what happens next — what happens to the characters after their story ends — is a fascinating way to connect your audience to your story, and can be emotionally satisfying as well.
How To Write An Epilogue
What Is an epilogue?
An epilogue is a section of a novel, film or other creative work that occurs after the main action has ended. An epilogue often serves as a summary or conclusion to the preceding work.
Epilogues help give audiences a sense of closure and completion at the end of stories.
The best way to start your epilogue is by giving your audience something new to think about.
In film, although the epilogue occurs after the end credits, it is not necessarily the same thing as a post-credit scene.
A post-credit scene is a scene shown during or after the credits that gives more information about the story, or acts as a sequel lead-in.
An epilogue, on the other hand, is part of the main film and will appear before the end credits start.
What Is An Epilogue?
Epilogues are often used in fiction, but they’re less common in non-fiction where the “story” is more abstract or academic.
They were especially common in Victorian novels, especially those written by women, who were expected to have less complicated plots than those written by men.
But epilogues don’t have to be used just for endings: you can also use them in the beginning of your story to set up future events.
One example of an epilogue that does both is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
The first part of this novel is told from Katniss’s point of view, but the epilogue switches to District 13 and the rebellion she has inspired.
And while it doesn’t directly tie into the plot of The Hunger Games, it sets up events there: Katniss’s actions lead to her being thrown back into the arena for another fight with Peeta.
How To Write An Epilogue
Writing an epilogue is one of the most difficult parts of a novel – the final scene that brings closure to your story. Many writers struggle to find the right tone and structure for this segment, but if you follow our expert advice, you can get it just right.
The key thing to remember about an epilogue is that it’s not essential, so if you’re struggling for ideas, or if you can’t think of anything that works, don’t panic! If your novel doesn’t have an epilogue, it won’t be any less successful.
Most novels don’t have them at all – they are usually only used when there is a specific need to wrap up loose ends.
So if you don’t really need one, don’t feel pressured into writing one just because others do.When you are ready to begin writing your epilogue, start with the end in mind.
That means having a clear idea of what your purpose is in using it. It may be to tie up loose ends and close out any open plots or storylines (for example in crime novels where the protagonist has solved the crime), or it may be to add more detail and character development than can fit into a chapter (for instance, after a tragic event has happened).
Understanding The Epilogue
Many people are not aware of this. That’s because the epilogue is only used in certain countries, and even then it is used rarely.
The epilogue is a text that appears at the very end of your book, on the last page, after you have decided where to place the copyright page.It can be very simple or it can be a bit more complex.
To get an idea of what an epilogue looks like, check out these examples:Book Epilogues Epilogue for ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT by Gerard Jones, ©2002. “When I was a kid, we’d stand out on our back porch and look up at the sky and wonder what was up there. We’d lie in the grass and stare up into space and try to imagine that we could see all the way to heaven.
We were explorers from Earth reaching out into the darkness with our minds, wondering what mysteries might be found among the stars. There was always an endless frontier out there somewhere, waiting for us to cross it and discover what wonders we would find on the other side.
We didn’t know where we’d go or what we’d do when we got there: all we knew was that someday we would get there.”
Writing An Epic Epilogue
Epilogues are the ending chapters of a story. They are used to wrap up loose ends and give the reader a sense of closure.
Most novels have one, but it is not required. If you choose not to write an epilogue, the final chapter of your book should have a feeling of closure about it.
Epilogues can vary in length from 2 pages to 20 pages depending on the type of novel you are writing.Since an epilogue is not required for all books, many authors do not know how to write one.
Here are some tips on how to write an epic epilogue:
- Use your epilogue to further develop characters that were introduced in your book.
- se your epilogue to hint at what could happen in a sequel or series.
- Tie up any loose ends left by the main character(s) after the end of the story.
- Show how the lives of your characters were changed by their experiences in your story as they move forward in their lives after the events in your novel.
- The ending of a story is very important, as it’s what leaves the reader with a lasting impression. It’s also difficult to write, as if you don’t get it right, your readers will feel cheated and disappointed.
In this article I’m going to share with you my tips for writing an epic epilogue which will leave your readers happy and satisfied.
Do You Have To Write A Prologue To Have An Epilogue?
Do you have to write a prologue to have an epilogue?
The short answer is: No, you don’t. If you’re writing a novel, for example, and want to give a background of what happened in the past that might influence the events of your story, feel free to do so.
But be careful when you do.Telling your readers about the past is not only another way of telling them about the present but it can also bore your readers.
And if you spend too much time on this prologue, you may lose your chance of having an interesting epilogue.A prologue should be short and sweet.
It should introduce your characters but keep out unnecessary details. The best way to do this is to write in third person point of view and use dialogue between your characters as much as possible instead of using description or narrative description.
For example:”When we met,” he said, “we were both teenagers.””You mean I was a teenager and you were a teenager,” she replied sarcastically.
“Whatever.” He paused before continuing: “It’s not important how old we were when we met.”
Prologues must contain enough information for readers to understand why your characters act the way they do.
Wondering Whether Your Story Should Include An Epilogue?
The short answer is that it can be a good idea.The more complicated answer is that it depends on what your story is about, and how it’s structured.
Epilogues are meant to provide closure — they’re the last few lines of dialogue or action that tie everything up — but they can also be unnecessary, even detrimental, to a story if you don’t do them well.
For example, here’s an epilogue from the movie “Clueless”:The following year, Tai and Elton broke up when Elton got sent away to military school in Arizona for getting caught smoking dope at Disneyland.
Josh went off to college at UC Berkeley where he majored in women’s studies, minored in drama and joined a sketch comedy group called “Gay Pimpin’ with Dr. Adams.”He did some off-Broadway plays with the group and wrote a one-act play about his parents’ divorce called “That’s What I Call Love.”
Cher ended up marrying her geometry teacher, Mr. Hall. They divorced when she learned that he was sleeping with one of his students, who Cher then recruited to work as the stripper at her eighteenth birthday party.
Murray became a famous astronaut and flew on two space shuttle missions.
Examples Of Epilogues In Books
Epilogue examples are important because they give writers an idea of how to close a story. There are many ways to write an epilogue, though, so it is good to see how others have done it.
Below are some examples of epilogues in books.Tolkien’s The Hobbit
In this novel, the epilogue reveals that Bilbo has passed his ring onto Frodo. Gandalf tells Frodo that he must leave and go on a quest to destroy the ring.
He also tells him that he will not be able to join the band of dwarves that is currently heading towards the Lonely Mountain.This section closes out the book by setting up future events for the characters and leaving readers with questions about what will happen next in the story.
The Help This book begins with a prologue that takes place many years after the main events of the story have occurred. It reveals that Skeeter has passed away and she was never able to finish her book about the black housekeepers in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s.
The epilogue then shows Skeeter’s funeral and her neighbors talking about what a great writer she was. The epilogue also invites readers back into the world of Jackson so they can imagine these events happening yet again.
Examples Of Epilogues In Films
Epilogues are a type of literary writing. They are often used in film and television to show what happens to certain characters after the plot has concluded.
While some epilogues are rather brief and consist of little more than a single sentence, others are more detailed, providing more information about the characters that the audience becomes invested in.
The term epilogue has been used to describe a wide variety of works of literature over the years, including everything from novels to stage plays.
There are plenty of examples of epilogues in films. Two of the most popular movies that feature this type of writing are “Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi,” a 1983 space opera, and “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” a 2011 action adaptation.
Epilogues in Literature
There are also many examples of epilogues in literature. Some examples include “The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain, “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult and “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott.
Writers have found various ways to implement epilogues into their stories over the years.Epilogues are used at the end of a film to give an after effect on what happened to the main character or characters.
It can also be used to show a glimpse of what is going to happen in the future.
Ideas For Crafting A Perfect Ending To Your Story
While you don’t want to give away the ending of your story in the beginning, you do need to have a good idea of how it will end.
Speculative fiction writer Donald Maass agrees that planning a story’s ending is important: “If you’re writing a mystery novel, for example, and you’re doing it well, then the reader will know who did it by the end of the book.
And if that’s not clear by then, you haven’t done your job.”You want to keep readers reading because they are invested in your characters or your plot.
You don’t want them to feel like they’ve been cheated or that the ending was unrealistic. You want them to feel like everything makes sense now and they’ve learned something from reading your story.
How do you accomplish this? There are several ways to end a story effectively:Set it up earlier in the story. If plot twists are important elements in your story, then set them up early so they aren’t surprises.
The audience needs time to adjust to new information before moving on with their lives.A good example of this is the Star Wars prequels, where many plot details revealed at the end were foreshadowed throughout the films.
How To Write An Epilogue For A Book
As you write your epilogue, remember that your goal is to add another layer to your book. The epilogue should offer a few final, “take-away” thoughts that readers can remember and apply to their lives.
Tie the main theme of your story together. Review the major issues you addressed throughout the book and summarize any important steps or actions the reader needs to take regarding these issues.
If you wrote a novel, describe how the characters’ lives have changed since the story’s climax. If it was a non-fiction book, summarize how you would like readers to incorporate your advice into their lives.
Write a brief summary of what you hope readers will gain from reading your work. Summarize the main points and bring them together in a way that encourages people to read the book and apply its lessons.
Add one last quote from the book or from one of your research sources or interviews that reinforces your main point and serves as an example of what you’re trying to say in this epilogue.
End with a sentence about how people can learn more about this topic or find out more about your work. This is also a good place to include information about any upcoming projects or events related to this book, if there are any.
How To Write An Epilogue For A Screenplay
Epilogues are a tricky aspect of screenwriting. They can be charming, funny, or bittersweet and can help you as a writer transition between two very different parts of your story.
But if you want to write an epilogue that works, you have to keep in mind that they’re kind of like a cherry on top of your screenplay sundae. They’re not essential, but they sure do make the entire piece better.
Treat your epilogue just like another scene in your movie. It should have a beginning, middle, and end, include all the elements of a good scene, and resolve any questions that remain after the rest of the story is over.
The purpose of an epilogue is to help tie up loose ends and answer lingering questions about what happens next for your characters–or maybe even bring in new ones for sequels or spinoffs if you’re writing something with one eye towards Hollywood. Most importantly, don’t get too wordy.
You have to give some sort of closure and set up for future possibility without droning on for pages upon pages about it. You never know when you might be called upon to write an epilogue for your screenplay or whether that request will come from the studio.
How To Write An Epilogue With A Flashback Or Flash Forward
Epilogues can be tricky, because you’ve got to resolve the story and leave readers satisfied, but you also want to leave them wanting more. If you fail to resolve all the tension or if your epilogue feels too much like a “wrap-up,” it will feel hollow and unsatisfying.
Tension is an essential part of creating a good story, so how do you wrap up all the tension in your book without ending it abruptly?The best epilogues have a sense of finality, yet they also have a flash of something new that makes the reader curious about what happens next.
The way you accomplish this is by using a flashback or flash forward—a scene set in the future that gives readers just enough information to make them hungry for more.
A flashback is an immediate scene that takes place before the book begins. A flash forward is more distant and may take place between scenes or even after the end of the book.
Flashbacks are usually short and reveal only one small piece of information, like a sentence or two from a conversation between two characters or the description of an object.For example:”We were married,” he said. “But we had some issues.”
“Issues?” I asked. ”
How To Write An Epilogue That People Remember
In the final episode of Mad Men, Don Draper says: “That’s what the money is for. To make everything okay.”
This is a profound moment. The show has just ended and we have watched Don Draper embark on a journey of self-discovery.
And finally, he accepts that happiness can only be achieved if he changes his outlook. A journey that has taken him from being a self-centered advertising executive to becoming the caring single father of three children.
His epiphany is the perfect climax to one of the greatest TV shows ever made.How do you write an epilogue that people will remember?
The Final Scene: Your story should always have a final scene and this scene should be written at the end of your story – not in your first draft. It is important to know where you’re going with your story as it helps you stay focused on your plot and characters throughout the writing process.
By focusing and working towards a specific end point, it becomes easier to spot weaknesses in your story early on and rectify them before they become big problems down the line.