So I finished “Perilous Heights”, or I guess what you’d call the rough draft, and added an epilogue at the end of the 6500 word short story. Epilogues are typically used in longer pieces of work, like plays, movies or books. So why did I choose to add an epilogue instead of letting the story lie or just continuing it?
“Perilous Heights” was meant to be a short story for the get-go. I decided to write a story for the blog and when I asked a friend of mine what she’d like the story to be about she said, “Clouds.” My mind turned that one word into a short story about Jack’s experience visiting Cloud City.
I had the story’s conclusion in mind before I even wrote the second part. It gave the story a bit of a moral and ethical focus while not adhering to conventional ends. A nice, sudden twist meant to leave the reader thinking while also keeping the story open for interpretation.
You could literally take the story in any direction you want with a fleshed out world that was built just enough to give you a lot of materials to play with without a ton of restrictions. From the outset the story was meant to be short, sweet and to the point, and I thought the open ending put a nice bow on it.
However, I can’t just create the world and then destroy it. It still exists in my head and my version of the story continues after the events in Cloud City. While I like the ending, I thought I’d give readers a teasing glimpse beyond the curtain. What better way to do that than with an epilogue?
I have no intention of visiting the story again, at least not for a while. The finale served as exactly that, so don’t expect a Part 4 coming around the corner. But I feel like the epilogue lets readers know that the ending wasn’t some abrupt excuse to end the story. I wanted the ending to be understood as planned from the story’s outset for a reason, and I think the epilogue serves to enhance the ending appropriately.
Remember, nothing’s explicitly stated. Are you sure the implications you’ve gleamed are true? Who’s really still alive at the end?
There are no right or wrong answers, only your version of the tale and mine. I hope everyone enjoyed “Perilous Heights” and I’d be happy to hear what you thought of the epilogue and the story in general.