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Thursday, October 27, 2011

To Epilogue Or Not To Epilogue

When I first wrote Ravyn's Flight there was no epilogue. My editor asked me to write one and what finally was published is the second version of it. Originally, I had the epilogue taking place on Earth and my editor wanted it on J9. She was right. In hindsight, the story did need to end on the planet where the story took place and I like this version best of the two.

Since then, I have almost always added an epilogue to my books. I'm pretty sure all my full-length books have epilogues, but I don't think two of the short stories do. Anyway, the reason I've chosen to add an epilogue is because I write action/adventure romance, sometimes there's so much going on in the story that I think the reader needs time with the couple when there aren't shoot-outs going on to see that yes, it is true love and to have that ahh moment. But this isn't something I've given a great deal of thought to in years. Until this week.

I've been reading on my lunch at work and the book had quite a bit of action going on. And then it ended and there wasn't an epilogue. As a reader, I wanted that epilogue. I needed the epilogue. I wanted to see the hero and heroine together without assassins lurking, without bullets flying.

I'm pretty sure the author thought she'd wrapped the story up just fine and didn't need an epilogue. I thought the same thing with Ravyn's Flight, but I was wrong and this author was, too. I'm still irked a couple of days after finishing the story that I didn't get to see the h/h six months in the future or a year or ten years. Anything would have made me happy.

The fact that I feel so cheated is interesting to me as a writer and it has me looking at this, analyzing it. I'm fairly confident that it does have to do with the amount of action in the story, that it nearly begs for a quiet, serene epilogue, but I'm mulling a little more, trying to figure out if there's something else going on. Writers really do read differently than normal people.

Before I really dedicated myself to the writing, I wouldn't have taken the time to think about this. I just would have complained about it and felt cheated for a while, until some other book pushed the memory of this one from my mind. Now, though, when something does or doesn't work for me as a reader, I find myself turning it around, studying it, trying to come up with whys.