WELCOME TO RWA/NYC’s HAPPY ENDINGS BLOG TOUR!
June being the month of Brides,
we thought it apropos to talk about Happy Endings.
Visit us daily this week and learn what some of our members think about the much sought after and often elusive “Happy Ever After.”
Not only do I believe and happy endings but I believe in happy endings plus. In other words, The Epilogue. I have even put an epilogue at the end of a short story!
An epilogue can serve several functions. First, an epilogue can tie up loose ends in the story. For example, if the story ends with the heroine resolving to get to know her long-lost father, the epilogue can show the relationship develop. Or the epilogue might show that two secondary characters get their happy ending as well.
Second, even if there are no loose ends in the story, an epilogue can tie up the plot with a nice bow. Readers like to know what happens to the protagonists in the future. This is the place to show the wedding or the arrival of the baby. There’s a risk of being anticlimactic after the last chapter, but I think that danger is outweighed by the benefits. The epilogue gives the reader the assurance that the main characters are not only happy, but they stay happy.
Third, an epilogue can introduce the characters of the next book or set up its premise. Arguably, an epilogue has become more important due to the popularity of series of connected books. So much for Margaret Mitchell famously saying: "For all I know, Rhett may have found someone else who was less—difficult." Actually, that wasn’t a popular pronouncement even back in 1945!
I am not a fan of prologues, by the way, which are a completely different animal. Prologues can exacerbate the problem of not starting at the beginning of the story—that is, near the moment of change.
An epilogue can sometimes effectively break the rules governing other chapters. It might use a new and different narrator, be written in a different point of view (omniscient or first person), or be relayed in a new tense (present instead of past, for example). The possibilities abound—another reason the epilogue need not be anticlimactic.
So go head…write that coda to your happy ending! Your readers are waiting.♥
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anna DePalo is the USA Today best-selling author of a dozen romance novels. She was raised bilingual in Brooklyn, attended Harvard, and practiced intellectual property law. She is a past Vice President, Assistant Treasurer, Contest Coordinator, and Bylaws Committee member of RWA/NYC. She lives with her husband, son and daughter in New York. You can find Anna online at www.annadepalo.com, www.facebook.com/anna.depaloauthor, www.facebook.com/AnnaDePaloBooks and twitter.com/Anna_DePalo.