top of page

Epilogue Elucidation

The word epilogue is derived from the Greek epilogos, it means concluding word. An epilogue is the final say of a story. It’s like the last course after a satisfyingly delicious meal, the pièce de resistance, following the end of some novels and some works of nonfiction. It’s the opposite of the prologue, which is the first course, the appetizer that whets the readers appetite before the first chapter.

The epilogue is an extension of the main story that comes after the final chapter; a standalone piece of writing that brings closure and wraps up loose ends. The epilogue can provide a glimpse into the future, years after the story ends.

If a novel is part of a planned series, the epilogue is a cool way to clue readers in about what the future holds for the characters they’ve come to love or despise. It’s a great avenue for dropping in hints about what’s on the horizon or spicing things up with a twist so appealing it makes readers hunger for the next book.

Sometimes a book’s final chapter can feel blah, leaving much to be desired. Did you ever hit the last page of a novel, waiting for a bang-up ending, but it falls flat, like it lost its moxie? The reader needs something more, something resolute. A well-written epilogue can serve as that missing piece, the je ne sais quoi that ties everything together in a way the final chapter sometimes cannot accomplish.

When a novel is a page-turner, readers don’t want the story to end, especially if it’s the last in an incredible series. They get to know and care about the characters the author created and are curious about what happens to them.

The epilogue in J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is a terrific example that checks all the boxes. It offers the reader a peek into the future of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, nineteen years later. Harry marries Ginny, Ron marries Hermione, and fans of the books watch as the characters arrive at Platform 9 ¾ with their children. The Deathly Hallows epilogue also drops in hints about the fate of other characters, such as Teddy Lupin, Neville Longbottom, and Draco Malfoy. It’s a satisfying ending to the seven books in the series.

Consistency is key. Epilogues should reflect the same point of view as the story. If a book is written in first person, the epilogue must reflect that.

Keep it short and simple. Don’t ramble on and make things complicated or ambiguous. The goal is to satisfy the reader, not create confusion.

Epilogues, yay or nay-nay? An epilogue is not meant to function in lieu of a robust and fitting final chapter. It’s intended to supplement the final chapter with details connecting to the main story, or add new information that helps deliver a brilliant resolution or different perspective. My advice is, if you write a kick-ass ending that’s gratifying you probably won’t need an epilogue unless you’re using it to talk up the next in the series, but that too can be achieved with an ending that hints at what’s coming around the corner.

Comes after the final chapter

Is an extension of the story

POV is consistent with the story

Keep it clear and short

Set it in the future

Ties up loose ends

Provides a strong resolution

Sets up the next installment

Final wrap on a series


Hi. I'm Liz Ambrico, freelance proofreader and aspiring author. I too am querying agents, editors, and publishers in hopes of becoming a published author.



Wordy is the get-in-the-know hotspot for writers. From grammar to publishing find info, tips, and inspiration to take your WIP (Work In Progress) to the next level.


Screen Shot 2019-09-26 at 8.33.52 PM.png

I co-founded and managed a successful author and writer group on Long Island for five years. During events with publishers and authors I learned what matters, what agents are looking for, and the benefits and pitfalls of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

I've gained a lot of tips and tidings on my writing journey and want to share what I know.

Besides my passion for writing, I'm a fitness enthusiast, and I love coffee, chocolate, and animals. I'm mom to two amazing young men, and I live on Long Island with my husband, four zany cats, and the sweetest dog ever.

Whether you're new to writing, ready to query, or about to submit your manuscript,  welcome, you've come to the right place.

About Me


Alyssa is Wordy's website administrator and tech guru. She holds a degree in Communication and has always enjoyed writing and marketing, both of which are highly useful skills for aspiring authors. 

Email Icon.png
bottom of page