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Epilogue : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Epilogue

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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Crono91
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Epilogue

Postby Crono91 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:28 am

Sooo, writing a trilogy. Tried my hardest to make it standalone. I've done it as best as I can. Yet, while the ending is "complete," it can possibly leave the reader wanting more. It ties up a lot, but it leaves one portion non-rewarding.

--In short, the main character can't save his loved one (but eventually does at the end of the second book). But acting as if there would be no second book, it ends kind of in a "what if" situation (which I hate those kinds of endings). The loved one becomes content with not being saved, and helping the world in her own way, and the main character dreams of a day when he can save her, but prepares himself to say goodbye.--

Now, I can't fully tell if it's standalone enough or not. Can't tell if it isn't rewarding enough for the readers. So after the last chapter, I was planning to write a short epilogue, setting up the next story for his next adventure--a new discovery to finally save her.

---

Is writing an epilogue that creates a possible second act acceptable for a standalone? Or will the agent throw it out the moment they see it, because they aren't trying to sell a trilogy?

I was reading Maze Runner, and the end of it is concluding in a sense, but there is an epilogue that clearly sets up the next book. And it'd be kind of weird if there never was a second book.

So if the answer is that an epilogue is acceptable, then why would having a book where the last chapter is the epilogue be unacceptable? What exactly would be the difference?

I understand the essence of a last chapter and an epilogue are different, but the content isn't too far different in this case.
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guydevalmont
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Re: Epilogue

Postby guydevalmont » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:08 pm


James A. Ritchie
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Re: Epilogue

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:13 am

A trilogy needs one story that covers three books. This means the main problem or enemy needs to somehow last three books. The problem you set up in the first chapter or two needs to be solved at the end of the third book.

Each book also needs a particular problem of it's own, one that is somehow connected to the overall problem that takes three books to solve. Each book has a "battle", but the war itself takes three books to win.

It doesn't sound like the protagonist trying to save his true love is such a problem, especially if he saves her at the end of book two. If the trilogy is rally about him trying to save his true love, if this is the overall problem, he can't save her until the end of book three, so what is the problem book one has all to itself? Without knowing one heck of a lot more about not only book one, but also books two and three, it's impossible to say whether an epilogue would work, but I doubt it.

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DrG2
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Re: Epilogue

Postby DrG2 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:53 pm


James A. Ritchie
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Re: Epilogue

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:20 pm


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KurtKilbourne
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Re: Epilogue

Postby KurtKilbourne » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:24 am

Try to think of the epilogue as the ending to any modern marvel movie.

If you have one, it better not be important to the understanding of the main story as a lot of folks will just pass it over.

A teaser for the next in a series...sure...that's fine, but it may be better to just stretch it out into a fully fledged chapter.

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TwoStepCharlie
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Re: Epilogue

Postby TwoStepCharlie » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:23 pm

It should not be essential or relevant to the main story which ought to properly end with appropriate 'emotional punch' at Act III.
I consider an epilogue more like some private 'aside' or 'shared confidence' between the author and reader/viewer.
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