How to Use an Epilogue
Because an epilogue is a concluding chapter in a work, and relies heavily on the preceding action, it’s a very good idea to write it after you’ve already finished the rest of the story, even if you knew how it was going to end all along. You won’t know what you need to accomplish with the epilogue until you have written the rest of the work. In order to write an epilogue . . .
- You may want to reread the piece, or have others read it, and ask the question, “Does anything seem missing? Is there anything you feel like you should know, but you still don’t?”
- Consider who in your cast of characters might like to use the opportunity of the epilogue to explain themselves.
- If there was a lot of activity in the previous chapter, the epilogue recap the conclusion of the story, setting things in clearer order for the audience, letting them know where everyone is, where they plan on going, how everyone feels, and what might have changed since the previous chapter. Sometimes, epilogues take advantage of a time skip, such as the caption, “20 Years Later,” to resolve the futures of its characters.
- If you want to set up a sequel, ask yourself how you could introduce that idea into the epilogue. Maybe the sequel will take place in another location or time, or with new characters. You might introduce any of these in an epilogue, giving your audience the revelation that this story will carry on with new elements.
When to Use an Epilogue
An epilogue is particularly useful in resolving any unanswered questions. It is also useful in giving the narrator, author, or some character an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the story. You might also have a sequel coming, and an epilogue is the perfect way to introduce this idea to the audience!