“In each loss there is a gain, as in every gain there is a loss, and with each ending comes a new beginning.” ~ Buddhist Proverb
Though epilogues are not required to be included in a novel, it is still pertinent to know the basics on how to write one. Most likely, your concluding chapter will sound a whole lot like an epilogue if you’re not including an epilogue in your novel specifically. I prefer to add epilogues to my writing for many reasons. I use the epilogue as a tool to separate the resolution of my novel from the event that will peak a readers curiosity. What do I mean by that? I mean that when you are writing a series you have to strike a fine balance between answering the questions posed throughout the novel and leaving enough answers go unsaid that keep your readers on the hook and wanting to read more. I use the last chapter in my novel to give the readers just enough closure to be satisfied and then my epilogue to raise a few more questions and keep readers thinking and wanting to read more, to find out what happens next.
Epilogues, just like prologues, often take place outside of the novels usual setting. Authors often use epilogues as a tool to explore a character’s or place’s or group’s history or future. I personally prefer to explore the past using my prologues and epilogues, but I have also used epilogues and prologues to explore happenings in the present of my novel. Other authors have used this technique also, by writing prologues and epilogues from the point of view of characters that may be supporting characters that are not in the same place as the main character.
An author who includes epilogues in her books is Tui T. Sutherland in her Wings of Fire series. She writes epilogues that not only keeps the readers wanting more but catches the readers up with characters who have been moved from the focus of the books to supporting characters. Her epilogues function in every way that an epilogue should and her books have provided me with much inspiration for my own writing endeavors. For great examples of prologues and epilogues I would suggest that you read one of her books.
If anyone else knows of any novels with good examples of prologues or epilogues please share them in the comments section.