Saturday, April 5, 2014

A to Z - E (2014)

I'm doing the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year. The basic idea is to blog nearly daily with each day representing a different letter of the alphabet. My entries will be short and book-related.  

E is for...


What role does an epilogue fill in a story for you? 

I've read epilogues recently that were used in very different ways and I wanted to reflect quickly on that.

In one case, the epilogue provided a jump into the future, to allow the reader to enjoy the characters' happily ever after. True, it gave me an opportunity to see the couple as a happy unit, unfettered by the conflict of the book. It also gave a glimpse of what their married life would include -children, careers, etc..

In the other case, the epilogue gave a post-climactic battle wrap-up, highlighting who survived with what wounds, and giving a sense of hope that moving forward the heroes had a plan for success.

Obviously these reflect different genres, and also a difference between a standalone novel and a series novel. That said, I was satisfied by neither epilogue. Either the future was glossed, any remaining points of tension smoothed over to create an upbeat final note for the novel OR the book came to a rush of a close and the epilogue was used to quickly pull all the threads together and hook the reader in for the next book.

This isn't to stay that epilogues aren't useful, and that they can't provide satisfying closure to a story. Just that my recent encounters with them have been not entirely positive.  

How do you feel about epilogues? Great way to provide closure or too often used in place of addressing all those dangling threads?

What about prologues? 

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