Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday's Writers' Tip - Prologue and Epilogues - Eileen Charbonneau

Once again Elements of the Novel by Eileen Charbonneau is being features for some information on Prologues and Epilogues. I have been accused of hating both of these. That's strictly not the case. What I don't like is when the Prologue has nothing to do with the story. Or when the Epilogue is so long the words could have formed a chapter on its own. I've seen Prologues that are spot on. Ones that give me information needed to show something from the past that's important to the character. Or one that sets up the world I'm going to enter. So if you're going to write a prologue, make it important.

Now speaking of Epilogues. The ones that turn me off are the ones that begin 3 months later or six months or a year. Ones that show the reader what's happening with the characters. Often found in romances, they bother me. I always feel that if the last chapter doesn't make me feel these people will be happy ever after the Epilogue isn't going to do it. An Epilogue that grabs me is one that makes me want to read the next book in the series. That is a clever use of the afterword.

So if you're tempted to write either of these, make sure the Epilogue or the Prologue is necessary to the story.

1 comment:

Erin OQuinn said...

To ShadyL:

I really like what you said about an epilogue that makes a reader want to buy the next book. I've never tried an epilogue (or prologue, for that matter), but now that I've digested your comment, by golly, I just might try that sometime!

I'm with you in the school of thought that says "if you haven't completed your book by those words THE END, you haven't written a successful book."

Much success to you, Erin