to epilogue or not to epilogue?

I just finished the first round of edits on my next new book, a book called Across the East River Bridge, which is a romance that involves a couple of ghosts. (The romance is between two flesh and blood people, but the ghosts bring them together. Sort of.) So I’m thinking about whether or not the book needs an epilogue.

Some of the early feedback I’m getting about Blind Items is that readers want an epilogue, or a sequel maybe; they want to know what happens to the characters down the road. I actually usually really like epilogues, especially in books in which I’m really liking the characters—I want to spend more time in the author’s world or with the characters, or want to see them together happily if only for a few pages. With Blind Items, though, I felt like I’d gotten to the end of the story… although that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of a sequel somewhere down the line.

But not all readers like epilogues, or don’t feel that they’re necessary if the book ends with the characters committing to each other, or clearly on their way toward a happily ever after (I’m talking about romance specifically here, obviously). And I for sure am not always a fan of marriage-and-babies epilogues that mostly just serve to show the couple in gratuitous domestic bliss. So I’m of two minds about it.

What say you? Do you like epilogues? Do you hate them?

6 thoughts on “to epilogue or not to epilogue?

  1. Chris says:

    HATE THEM. Because they are too often used as an easy end to the book. Instead of writing about the rough times our heroes have after they get together (ie, when they grow and change and become more interesting people), too many books just stop precipitously and tack on an epilogue. In my reviewette, I commented favorably on the book NOT having an epilogue. :)

    (Do you have a way to just subscribe to the comments for a single post, rather than all the site’s comments? I’m not seeing it, but it’s been a rough day… Thx!)

  2. kate says:

    Hi Chris! Thanks for your feedback. I’m definitely not a fan of the tacked on epilogue (Deathly Hallows comes to mind as a classic example of that) although I do think they can sometimes be done well.

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  3. Arlene Rosenberg says:

    I really like epilogues, after going through all types of emotional ups and downs with the characters I like to know what happened down the road. I really don’t like when books end with the characters in bed it feel to unfinished. I would love to see a sequel for The Boy Next Door, to know what happens with Jase and Lowell, and also crazy Karen.Plus there is a story there for Neal.Pleeeeease!!

  4. kate says:

    Hi Arlene! Thanks for stopping by. I’m working on a sequel to The Boy Next Door that tells Neal’s story. Hopefully soon!

  5. Melora says:

    I like an epilogue if it’s a slice of life rather than a summary or marriage/kids. Show me more of why I love these characters not more plot that should have been part of the book. If however, a sequel is forthcoming, then go right ahead and offer a tease in the epilogue.

  6. kate says:

    Hi Melora! This is about how I feel about epilogues, too (although I read a marriage-and-babies epilogue last night that I didn’t hate).

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