Epilogues are another of my favorite tools as a romance writer. I don’t feel they are necessary or even as helpful for many other forms of fiction. However, with romance, they are almost a must in my opinion.
According to Writer’s Digest there are six common uses for epilogues:
- Wrapping up a story’s events after a violet climax
- Highlighting consequences of the story’s events
- Wrapping up loose ends
- Suggesting the future for the protagonist(s)
- Giving a realistic finale
- Providing data on a large cast of characters
In romance, epilogues are most frequently used to give the reader a quick window into the life of the couple after the HEA (happily ever after). As a reader, I’m no longer satisfied with “I love you,” and then fade to black with the words “and they lived happily ever after.” I want to sigh over the proof that they did, and the epilogue can give me that.
I’ve been reading romance for 30 years now (I started when I was 2. Wink, wink.) Looking over used novels from the 70s and 80s, most ended directly after the HEA, and when I re-read them now, the ending feels abrupt and jarring. I need that epilogue to round me out nicely.
In addition, epilogues in romance or any kind of series of books can be used to foreshadow the next books and leave the readers both satisfied with the book they’ve just finished as well as wanting the next one. In particular, I use this method with my paranormal romances, hinting at the next villain, the next romantic conflict, the next conflict set up, and so forth, on top of giving that window into my current couples HEA.
How about an example?
I would give you an example from my most recent book, The Boss, but it’s super new and would be giving away a bit of a spoiler for the book in general. So here is a portion of the first epilogue I ever included in a book, from book 1 of my Svatura series, Blue Violet.
PART OF THE EPILOGUE FROM BLUE VIOLET
Griffin watched his twin. She glowed with a radiant delight that lit her up from within, and he couldn’t have been more overjoyed for her. At the same time, though, he’d never felt more alone than in this moment.
Ellie had found her te’sorthene. But what she didn’t know, what none of them knew, was that Griffin had found his as well. A silver-haired angel who’d appeared to him in so many dreams he’d lost count.
One of the Vyusher responsible for killing almost everyone he’d ever loved. And he could never have her. Fate apparently had it in for him. To make the potential source of his greatest happiness also the source of the worst event of his life was just cruel. Bitterness seeped into his being, and darkness threatened to crush his very soul.
Griffin turned away from his tormented thoughts and joined in the celebration, refusing to contemplate the future further. It held no promise for him now.
KEEP READING BLUE VIOLET:
I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.
Oh yes! There are many times a story I have read would have benefited from an Epilogue. I let the author know in my review too. I hate when an story ends “abruptly”. I often help them with the excuse of word count restrictions, but really, either more efficient writing and/or an epilogue would have solved the issue nicely. Thank you for your thoughts. (I think I need to do some re-reading. I did love the Svatura series.)