Writing endings is tough. Personally, this is the area I struggle with the most in a first draft. My brain kind of explodes a little, thinking of how to tie everything together in a way that is both expected and unpredictable.
I'm currently at the end of my WIP. I know the events that need to take place. Events and actions are easy. It's the emotions that kill me. They call this a climax for a reason-- it's the PEAK of everything you've set up for the past 300 pages. It's the most intense of all your intense scenes put together.
It's the simultaneous resolution of the outer and inner conflicts.
In James Scott Bell's Plot & Structure, he says the best fiction has death "hanging over the MC" from early on, until it is conquered in the end. This doesn't always mean physical death, but that is the most common because it is the most intense.
The YA novel I'm writing has a very strong element of death from beginning to end. It starts out as social death, and then emotional death, and then there is a clear physical death threat that hangs over the MC all the way until she confronts the antagonist at the end.
I didn't realize this when I'd first added that physical death threat-- it was just part of the story and that's all I was thinking about-- but without that extra, extremely intense element, this story would be in a completely different class. A lower class, in my opinion. That one little element (that is not really little at all) is essentially what drives the reader more quickly through the pages.
It creates worry. Worry keeps readers reading. They wonder... will such-and-such character's last breath be on the next page? The next one? Maybe the next one? And suddenly they're at the end, in the final showdown.
Today's song reminds me of the emotional and physical intensity of a good ending.