These things I'm about to list may or may not work for you, but I thought it would be fun to give a list of what exactly works for me as an author when I'm about to finish a book. When I talk about the "ending of a book", I mean the last 1/4 of the book.
DO NOT RACE
One thing that is most detrimental to my writing is racing to the end. If things are blurring by at a crazy pace, I'm going to miss things. All those plot lines to tie up - I'm going to miss them completely if I'm not paying attention, and they will not be easy to bring back in with revisions. More than likely, I'd have to completely rewrite the last 1/4 of the book if I rush through it.
READ THE BOOK W/ NO "PENCIL"
When I reach the last 1/4 of the book, I usually load the entire manuscript onto my Kindle and spend the next few days reading it from start to finish (well, what is finished so far). I try to do this in as little time as possible, even one sitting if possible. I like to do this because as I do so, I get a good feel for the book as a whole without making any changes at all, without even making notes. I just want to see it from a distance, if that makes sense.
READ THE BOOK W/ A "PENCIL"
Once I have the entire book in my head, I go back and read it again, this time with my computer in front of me as I make notes about typos, errors, plot holes, inconsistencies, places that need filling out/cutting down, etc. I also make a very, very important list called the THREADS TO TIE-UP LIST. (I know that title is brilliantly creative...*cough*).
At this point, the book is pretty close to me. I've read through it twice in a very short space of time, and I need a break from the dang thing. So I walk away for a week to several weeks depending on what I think I need. I have to let things simmer.
Now, you may be asking how I know when I've reached the last 1/4 of the book. I know because I outline. But! Let me make it clear that my outline is a lame little two pages of loose summary-type notes about main plot points, character attributes, and ideas of scene placement. It is by no means a detailed outline. I have to have freedom, so to speak, but I also have to know where the heck the book is going and where I'm at in writing it.
So the last thing I do is sit down and write that last 1/4. It seems like by the time I've reached this point, I'm kind of dying. In fact, I'm usually dead and the ending is the most difficult part of the book for me to write. I think this is why I have such a specific set of rules of what I do to get there. I've found over and over that this routine helps prepare me for what I feel is the most important part of any book. If an ending doesn't satisfy the reader, the rest of it can simply fall apart. So I place a lot of weight on the ending. I want it to be just right.
So how do you write your endings? Do you rush to the end and then fix stuff later? Or do you have a more methodical approach? I'm interested to know!