The Art of the Epilogue
I’ve been contemplating endings lately—more on that in a later blog—but in relation to writing, the epilogue comes to mind. Romance novelists love employing the epilogue, but I find myself thinking they’re often unnecessary. If an epilogue only exists to reinforce that the hero and heroine indeed grasped their Happy Ever After, well, I don’t think it’s all that essential. The HEA should’ve been a no-brainer in the final chapter. Hopefully, they already raced across that figurative daisy field from opposite directions and the heroine jumped into the hero’s arms and he spun her around and around until she was wicked dizzy. In my humble opinion, you can’t improve on that, so why try?
I didn’t write an epilogue for Clingstone. There was a time when I flirted with the idea of possibly writing one, but from Creighton’s perspective, and it would’ve picked up about ten years after the last chapter. The hardships from the war would’ve been a distant memory, and the reader would’ve received a heartening glimpse that this ordinary couple falling in love during extraordinary times had not only survived, but thrived. Ornery little Owen Scott would’ve almost been fully grown, and the reader could’ve been reassured that he’d learned to compensate for his missing hand. I pictured all of them on a little farm somewhere, very Little House on the Prairie, with a few miniature versions of Creighton and Mae running about to complete the HEA.
In the end, I didn’t think that epilogue—or any epilogue, really—was necessary. I knew my hero and heroine would live HEA and the specifics of how and where that happiness unfolded didn’t really matter. I passed it off to my readers to picture the details, and I’m happy with that decision.
Conversely, I’ve always known I would require an epilogue for Watermark. There’s one big outcome in particular that never gets answered by the end of the book, and so an epilogue is definitely needed to show how everything resolves itself. There’s a few other little nuggets as well that I never had an opportunity to expound on until the epilogue—specifically, the origins of the title, which makes me sigh happily whenever I picture my hero Malcolm explaining it.
[Cue happy sigh here]
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