Final Chapter, Epilogue, or Don't Know Where to Stop?


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Thread: Final Chapter, Epilogue, or Don't Know Where to Stop?

  1. #1
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    Final Chapter, Epilogue, or Don't Know Where to Stop?

    I can't believe I'm asking this, but currently I'm at the so-called ending part of my novel (yes, I've decided to go with one ending instead). Overall what happened in the end is clear, except a tiny cliffhanger on the survival of a dear supporting character. I could close the faucet right there, but idea still flows.

    I feel the desire and necessity to continue a little more on the future part that will serve to eliminate the said cliffhanger. This goes without saying that I'm trying to keep it under the context of the story.

    So can I regard the future part as the Epilogue or will that appear as 'stretching' the story, giving the impression that I don't know where to stop?

  2. #2
    I mean, it's your story, but why?

    Just wanting to do something isn't a good enough reason to do it. Not if you're over the age of 10 and writing this for reasons beyond your own enjoyment anyway.

    What is the message of the story, and of this character in particular? Is clarifying their fate and achieving some degree of closure necessary?

    That should be a fairly easy question to answer. It's a gut thing. But if you aren't certain, don't do it. If you can live without explaining it, don't explain it. In a situation where there's an open choice as to whether to add something to a story - be it via an epilogue or not - then it's usually because that shiny idea is unnecessary and unnecessary writing is usually bad writing. Don't over sweeten the tea.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Don't over sweeten the tea.
    This.

    (Great line btw, lucky!)

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  4. #4
    If your cliffhanger isn't resolved by the time the heroes can look around and have their denouement, it probably needs cutting.

  5. #5
    Are you saying that you want to write more or the reader wants to read more?

    We normally raise issues (will the world be saved?) that create tension and cause the reader to keep reading. The final ending/epilogue should have the goal of resolving these issues and leaving the reader feel satisfied.

    But it's your call. There are books where the action goes on long after the obvious thrilling conclusion, such as Jurassic Park. There are books that declare the wholeness of the story and leave a huge issue dangling. (Like that the earth is in the wrong solar system.) You can do a quick resolution of a complicated issue.
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  6. #6
    What is your goal for the end of the story? Is it for the situation to be resolved completely? Is there another threat yet to come? Do you want to show how life has gone on for the characters? Do you want the story to lead into a sequel? These ideas can go together. My point is you need to decide what you want from the end of the story for yourself and for the characters. If you're not sure about a sequel the best bet is to write it as a stand-alone without a cliff-hanger ending.
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  7. #7
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Are you saying that you want to write more or the reader wants to read more?

    We normally raise issues (will the world be saved?) that create tension and cause the reader to keep reading. The final ending/epilogue should have the goal of resolving these issues and leaving the reader feel satisfied.
    I would say I just want to write more, giving a slight extension to the story in post-ending. As for readers, they definitely will want to read more provided they give a sh*t and hopefully so.

    This guy below mentioned something spot on and I shall continue the answer below.

    Quote Originally Posted by K.S. Crooks View Post
    What is your goal for the end of the story? Is it for the situation to be resolved completely? Is there another threat yet to come? Do you want to show how life has gone on for the characters? Do you want the story to lead into a sequel? These ideas can go together. My point is you need to decide what you want from the end of the story for yourself and for the characters. If you're not sure about a sequel the best bet is to write it as a stand-alone without a cliff-hanger ending.
    Yes, this so-called Epilogue part is where I would like to show where my characters go with their lives after the ending. Contrary to the main chapters, the epilogue is without a tense moment, but it isn't all about flower and sunny day either.

    As stated earlier, the ending was made. Hero A survived, while Hero B, well, he's left behind, so guess what happens. That's the end of the story and by then the main events of the story would have been fully told, uncircumcised. But then I realized that since the story eventually revolves around these two fellas hating each other growing into a duo, I feel obligated to resolve what actually happens to the lives of these two, three months after the ending.

  8. #8
    I'm kind of in a similar situation, only different.

    My central story (essentially a quest and search for the truth about an old unsolved murder) featuring my main character and antagonist is rapidly coming to an end, but I've neglected to wrap up two sub-plots involving his revived affair with an old girlfriend and an old friend's burgeoning art career.

    I don't know whether to carry on writing to wrap up loose ends or to go back and do that about 7/8 of the way prior to the big ending.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir-KP View Post
    I would say I just want to write more, giving a slight extension to the story in post-ending. As for readers, they definitely will want to read more provided they give a sh*t and hopefully so.
    If this is the case, an epilogue seems the best way to go. An additional chapter would suggest there is more of the plot to be told when there really isn't. An epilogue would advance the time frame into the future somewhat, and wrap up any loose ends, while still giving the reader a sense of satisfaction that he/she had witnessed the full story arc, and gained a sense of closure when it came to the characters and their own arcs.

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  10. #10
    Which genre are you writing in?

    Is the narration written in first person?

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