Fiction Daily.
A blog on writing, writers and why we read. Posted most mornings by Marion Blackburn.
Struggle, write, repeat Pt. 3
Yesterday walking one of our dogs I had some clear thoughts about structure.

There will be three parts: first section will be experimental in structure, past and present. Second section, taking place in the book's "now", again may try to experiment with tense, though I dislike reading present-tense narratives. Third section I won't say anything about, except that's the section I'm looking forward most to writing.

I considered an epilogue. I'm not sure I like them, because they bring a sense of finality. I wonder, Is this the best you could do to close your great work? I don't think Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky used them.

Yet, they are useful to bring an end which does not directly involve the characters or narrator and can provide understanding.

Is is a device? Not sure. I feel that if I have to rely on an epilogue ... if it is a way out of a closed box ... then I need to work a little harder on a solution.

2007-12-21 12:01:51 GMT
Comments (2 total)
These postings are great ... like a peek inside your head as you work out various aspects of your novel. As for epilogues, my feeling is that you should not write anything -- prologue, epilogue or novel -- unless there is some compelling reason to do so. If you can write an epilogue as stunning as the one A.S. Byatt composed for "Possession," then do so. In that case, the epilogue is an essential part of the story that would not have worked nearly as well without it; her epilogue absolutely defines what an epilogue should be. If, on the other hand, your epilogue nearly ruins the book (as was the case, for example, in Anne Patchett's "Bel Canto"), then you are better off without it.
2007-12-21 13:47:09 GMT
Gene ... Thanks for these thoughts on epilogues. You got to the heart of the issue: Do they work? When and why? I need to check out the end of "Possession." The French Lieutenant's Woman, as I remember, also had a fascinating approach to endings. -- MB
2007-12-21 14:16:29 GMT
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