1. IrishLantern
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    IrishLantern Member

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    Multiple Afterwords?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by IrishLantern, Jan 21, 2012.

    I'm currently writing a novel, about halfway through, and some various other bits and pieces completed including the end of the book. I intend to include a piece at the end of the book wherein the main character explains why he has written the book, and how he feels about it (I hate when novels told in first person don't give an explanation for who the story was written for). I intended to couch this as an afterword written by the character. This would have been followed by THE END being written there by the character (not something I normally do after stories but fits with the characters thoughts at that point. I do realise it's generally frowned upon to write THE END :) )

    However, I also intend to have my own afterword at the end. They are one of my favourite inclusions in a book, giving an insight into the authors thoughts, and usually a sense of closure when the story has ended and you have to let the characters go. It provides a satisfying barrier between the end of the book's world and the return to normal life.

    Anyway, my question is do you think it would be awkward to have two afterwords at the end? Would it be confusing for a reader do you think? I may only find the answer of course once I get to that point, but I'd be interested to know what people thought of it.

    Or should I just call the character's afterword an epilogue?
     
  2. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    do you have an example of book to illustrate what you mean?
    I don't understand this.

    If understand it right, you mean one that you write yourself as the writer and one the character from the story writes.
    No I do not think it is confusing, it just means you the writer show that you care about why you wrote the story and also indicate that you ,in away are interacting with your character in a new way, by giving them another voice outside the plot.
    As long as what you write and your character write are not conflicting but complimenting each other then it should be fine.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sporting both my editor's and reader's hats, i strongly suggest you use 'epilogue' for the fictional 'closing' and call only your own remarks the 'afterword'...
     
  4. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like these things too. You have articulated their appeal very well. They perform, perhaps, something of the same job as movie credits: the art lingering (the music) but life (catering facilities provided by) gently re-establishing itself. If, at the end of a meaningful, substantial movie somebody interrupts the credits ( 'excuse me' at the cinema or 'do you want a coffee'
    at home), I could quite happily murder that person.

    Good luck with it (both of them).
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Maia beat me to the distinction between an epilogue and an afterword.

    However, I'm inclined to skip the epilogue you are describing. If the character's motivations are not obvious by the end of the book, you should be reworking the story, not tacking an explanation at the end. Trust the reader to be intelligent enough to see it.

    The afterword is another matter. If you want to tell the reader why the story was so important to you, and how it came about, the afterword is a good place to do so. Don't submit it with your manuscript, though. Discuss it with your agent or publisher after your manuscript is accepted.
     
  6. IrishLantern
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    IrishLantern Member

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    Thanks for the help everyone.

    Yeah, I was tending towards the same a bit after I posted.

    It's not so much an explanation that is needed for the story to make sense as something the character wants to tell the reader. It wouldn't be something to explain events in the book, just for the character to give some final thoughts, speaking directly to the reader, rather than telling a story.

    The advice of not submitting with the manuscript makes sense. I'd never thought about it, but it would feel wierd aimed at an agent/publisher. Thanks!
     
  7. hootertooter
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    hootertooter New Member

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    I love the sound of this! Are these afterwords common? I've never seen one because I don't read much.

    If the tense switches from past (the story) to present (the epilogue), that would be great (I think). I totally get why you'd want to include a reflective epilogue. All the dramas for which I've written scripts and screenplays have serious, smart lead protagonists that would totally sync with reflective epilogues.
     

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