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June 14th, 2007
The Dreaded "E" Word

Blood RoseI hope that got you speculating about what the dreaded “E” word could be? Erotic? No. Since I’m finishing up my WIP (an acronym that sounds like ‘whip’ and often feels like one), my dreaded “E” word for the day is “Epilogue”.

For the readers out there, what do you think of the epilogue? Are they evidence that the author didn’t know when to shut up? A sign the author couldn’t think of the perfect ending so she threw two slightly inferior versions at you in the hope that volume would win the day? Do you groan when you see them, or do you relish that chance to jump into the future and take a look at what’s happened, how things have worked out, and get a taste of the “after” in happily ever after?

As I writer, I’m addicted to the epilogue. And since my hero and heroine have been, well, ****ing like bunnies for 300 and some pages up to this point, there’s usually a baby in my epilogue. But I wondered—why do I enjoy writing the epilogue and visiting my characters as their family begins to grow? Since the conflicts of the story have been resolved, what is driving me to show how the relationship has worked out?

I think I love epilogues because I have the chance to show the friendship that has evolved between my characters, and to show that the passion hasn’t faded. Epilogues make me smile because they prove to me that I wasn’t wrong to feel hope at the end of the story.

And while I don’t usually have a love scene in the epilogue, I do like to make it clear that my hero (or heroes) and heroine are having frequent delicious sex. And since time has passed and they have gotten to know each other better, the sex has just gotten better.

One of my favorite epilogues is Julia Quinn’s in On the Way to the Wedding. Her chronicle of a man’s and a woman’s reactions to childbirth—multiplied eight times (resulting in nine children) is heart-warming and hilarious.

So the question here is—do you like or hate epilogues? Do you write them, read them, or skip them? And if you are an ‘epilogue addict’, how far into the future do you like to see?

Also congratulations to all the Crumpet Strumpets who have been wrapping up manuscripts in the last while. There’s nothing more thrilling than writing “The End”. Well, possibly a few things, but it’s still a wonderful, exhausting, and exhilarating achievement.

P.S. my picture today doesn’t have anything to do with epilogues, though there is an epilogue in that story. But he’s my cover and I love him. 🙂