Epilogues: love ’em or hate ’em?
When they get together, authors spend their time talking about things that would never enter the head of a regular person. How to describe a hand-to-hand fight. Whether or not magic must depend on the laws of physics. The moral implications of adverbs. And more often than you would believe: Whether or not an epilogue should be included in a book.
So here I am, a chapter away from the end of Brilliant Devices (releasing on February 28!), and I’m stymied by the Epilogue Question. I need to wrap up Claire’s adventures and send her on her way into her future, as the orchestra comes to a crescendo with her brave and triumphant musical theme.
But may I leave it there? Does one need a coda after the crashing climax? Is the denouement enough, or must we go further, and show Our Heroine at some unnamed point in the future, living resourcefully ever after?
Since there are going to be three more books in the Magnificent Devices series, all set five years on, it seems to me that weaving in glimpses of Claire’s future in those books should be sufficient. So now I’m talking myself out of an epilogue. But what about the Mopsies, whose book is up next? Should the epilogue be from, say, Maggie’s point of view, bridging the reader from the Claire Quartet into the Mopsie Whatever-it-turns-out-to-be?
Gah. Decisions. And I thought choosing a pair of shoes was hard.
5 thoughts on “Epilogues: love ’em or hate ’em?”
I can’t say that I don’t enjoy epilogues because, if they are done right, they can be a lovely glimpse into the future. If done wrong (I’m looking at you, J.K. Rowling), they can leave a sour taste and almost ruin the book for me.
I think that you should do whatever you think best serves the series and the characters. If you’re asking my opinion though, I think that having glimpses of Claire’s life woven into the future books would be lovely. If you’d prefer not do that and to concentrate on the new stories, I wouldn’t say no to finding out how Claire’s life turned out in an epilogue.
I believe I also agree. I find “Magnificent Devices” series a delicate matter. An epilogue could either ruin it or make it all the more better. But what could I say. The stories should be balanced out.
If there will be more novels, then an ending that somehow assures us we can look forward to more should be enough. I tend to think of a book (or series) that ends with an epilogue as the very end–the epilogue provides one last glimpse of our beloved characters (e.g., Gemini, by Dorothy Dunnett, the end of the House of Niccolo series.
I enjoy the idea of just glimpses of Claire in the books to follow with the mopsies. We know she is ‘somewhere’. Is she happy? Is she wealthy or just ‘doing her thing’ and making the most of life, in spite of her wealthy father at her birth? She would have contact with the mopsies once in awhile would she not? Are they happy? Are they concerned at all about Claire?
I KNOW we will see glimpses of Claire inthe Mopsie’s books, how could we not. They are so bound by love and the luck of selecting their own family, Claire will show up…the question here is how much do we want to know about her future. Does she go to university in England or Germany? What does she do with her training? What happens to the children at the cottage?
What about Alice? The problem is we want more of everything….and for a creative writer, it has to be difficult to know when to quit…..