If a story has an epilogue, does it have to have a prologue?I'm writing a story & I think I need an epilogue. However, most books with epilogues also include prologues. If I write an epilogue,...

If a story has an epilogue, does it have to have a prologue?

I'm writing a story & I think I need an epilogue. However, most books with epilogues also include prologues. If I write an epilogue, is a prologue necessary?

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billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

No, there is no rule that a prologue requires an epilogue or an epilogue requires a prologue. However, I suggest that you write your story and then decide whether you really need either a prologue or an epilogue. Both of these seem rather old-fashioned devices. A short story, as Poe tells us, should aim to create a single effect. Once you have created the single effect you should sign off and not try to achieve any additional effect or risk spoiling your effect with supplementary exposition. Ideally, the story itself should contain all the necessary information and not require any epilogue--although an epilogue would not be out of place in a novel.

It is not uncommon for stories to begin with a short phrase, usually a quote. These are called epigraphs. I think you will find that most stories that contain such supplementary material as epigraphs, epilogues, and prologues are older works, written when readers had more time and patience. However, I don't know anything about the story you have in mind. Maybe you really do need an epilogue--but, if so, you don't have to provide a prologue too.

mike101612's profile pic

mike101612 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

no you dont need an epilogue but i advice you to make one because it just makes the story flow

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