The Epilogue Book

Spongebob Epilogue

Spongebob Epilogue

This is a fairly coming thing to appear in a series, but it’s usually just a chapter or a 5 minute movie section.  Unless it’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ where multiple endings make you feel like you’re being tricked into stretching your legs.  People want some closure and a brief view of what happened after the final battle.  Did the heroes truly live happily ever after or fall on bitter times?  Everything straightened up into a neat package.  That’s kind of what I plan on doing with Legends of Windemere.

There is another version that I’ve stumbled onto recently.  Best thing I can call it is the ‘Epilogue Book’.  This is an entire book that takes place years after the main adventure and gives closure to the main characters.  I’ve noticed this is done a lot with heroes who fall on hard times or have a run of bad luck.  They look for that last piece of glory or regain a lost item.  I guess it’s to get them a happy ending or to bring them back to their center.  Kind of like a fallen hero finding redemption.

Personally, I think this is a difficult story to write because many readers might have been content with the first ending.  It can carry a sense of the author not letting go even if that’s not the case. It really is hard to justify overturning a character’s life when they spent several books earning their finale.  This is probably why I don’t want to attempt it right now.  There are a few characters that can get spin-offs and one that could feasibly get another series, but I don’t know about having one lose what they fought so hard to gain. I torture my heroes enough.  That’s just personal preference.

So, what do you think of epilogue chapters, Epilogue Books, or even knowing about the fate of characters after they defeat their enemies?  Does it depend on the heroes?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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33 Responses to The Epilogue Book

  1. That’s a very personal thing. I always like resolution and a sense that life goes on. I don’t believe in happily ever after, because that isn’t reflective of real life. There are more bad times and good times in all lives. I try to end on a high note, but stay somewhat realistic about the future. I think every reader will have a different opinion on this. I say if you feel the need to write it – write it.

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    • I hear a lot of people say ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t reflect real life. I’ve believed it myself too. Yet, I do know people who could fall into that category. It makes me wonder if every type of fictional ending reflects real life since there’s so much variety. This is probably why I like ensemble cast stories so much. I can create multiple endings that touch on that variety.

      This does bring up another question that probably changes from person to person. Why do we believe that happily ever after isn’t reflective of real life?

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  2. PorterGirl says:

    I think it is a case of personal preference and does very much depend on the characters in question. I, for one, am a sucker for a happy ending so if a prologue gives me that when it all looked grim, then I would be delighted!

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  3. I’m with Porter Girl! I’m a sucker for a happy ending… 😀

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  4. labyless says:

    I don’t think I would be a fan of an epilogue book. I think a chapter is really all that’s needed to wrap things up. Like you said, in most cases the characters have been through enough already 🙂 And I’ll be a “Me Three!” To Porter Girl and Nicholas’ being a Happy Ending Sucker.

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  5. Judging by previous comments, I’m the oddity. In a majority of my short stories, there probably wouldn’t be anyone left to give a happy ending to. Except maybe the antagonist. However, there are times I like to leave it as a cliffhanger, let the reader assume whatever ending they see fit.

    I think any wrapping up would be best at the end of the novel, not as a novel in itself, unless it is a sequel. I haven’t heard of an “Epilogue Book” before, and would probably consider it a sequel instead, regardless of the intention of the Author.

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    • I guess the antagonist can be considered having a happy ending. They are allowed to get those if they win, right?

      I didn’t know what else to call this. A sequel seemed too much like something that you could see coming. This is more of a story that happens after the main one is over and a lot of time passes. Though I guess it’d just be a less connected sequel then.

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  6. I like to know everything is okay. I’m not sure a whole book is necessary but do like to see what happened to the folks.

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  7. L. Marie says:

    I think it depends on the heroes. I liked the epilogue chapter for the Harry Potter series. i like closure. I’ve been disappointed by series I’ve loved that drag you through three books only to provide a disappointing four-page wrap up. Then in the next book, they jump ahead in time 200 years or a thousand years–long after the characters you’ve come to love are dead. So an epilogue would have been appreciated.

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    • I’ve heard of books like that and wonder how they work. Does anything besides the work connect? I mean, I get it if the whole thing is leading to heroes of the past, present, and future team up in the finale.

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  8. mgill0627 says:

    I’m not crazy about Epilogue Books. That’s how I would describe, “Scarlett,” the “sequel to “Gone With the Wind,” which was written by another writer years after Margaret Mitchell died. I enjoyed imagining the way things turned out for Scarlett, Rhett, etc… Reading the book took me out of the equation. It was well written and engaging, but it changed forever the way I viewed Scarlett O’Hara’s story. Now, “Go Set a Watchman,” is coming out. I’m a bit reluctant to read this one. Not sure I want to see Scout grown up. I’d rather remember her as the little girl she was. On the other hand, at least it was written by Harper Lee. I may not be able to resist. Who knows.

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    • Wow. It’s really rough when a new author takes over. That has to be awkward since a fan can tell the differences. I’m curious about the new Harper Lee book. I need to look up when she wrote it since it’s weird for a sequel to come out so long after the first.

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  9. It depends on the story and the author. Some stories need an epilogue, but some authors just can’t write a good epilogue.
    I do like a fair amount of resolution if I’m really invested in the character(s). If it’s a character I just couldn’t care about, I don’t care about an epilogue.

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  10. A Handmaid’s tale by (I think) Margaret Atwood had a note of historical records from the distant future after the ending, which was an interesting touch (and quite relevant to the story and helpful to the reader).

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  11. Hmmm. If the author didn’t nail the ending the first time, I’d be skeptical about reading any more. And I’d be angry if the author wrote an ending that was truthful but sad, only to feel like they had to “make it better” because of reader complaints. To me, this would greatly damage the story.

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  12. I like epilogues in books. Sometimes it’s nice to see what happens a few months down the line when the dust has settled! If it’s a series, I quite like to hear about old characters from time to time – touching base with what’s going on for them. I’m not sure about and epilogue book. I agree that sometimes we just have to leave them in peace and when a book ends well…when we get the ‘happy ending’ – why revisit?

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  13. Jack Flacco says:

    I gotta be honest, I’m not a big fan of the epilogue books. I’d rather write my own ending where I can picture what happens next according to what I think happens. Have a look at the ending to The Sopranos. Creator David Chase went with the unconventional and faded to black for a whole fifteen seconds before the credits came up. That was genius. The next day everyone was talking about it, and eight years later, people are still talking about it. Sometimes it’s best to leave a good thing lie in order to have an audience decide their own closure. At least, that’s what I think.

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