"When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home."
This is the first line of S. E. Hinton's classic YA novel, The Outsiders.
It is also the last line.
You may have heard that the seeds of a book's ending are in its beginning, that a good ending often carries echoes of the starting point. Writers rarely apply that advice as literally as Hinton did, but it is a concept that has been very useful to me.
When I wrote the first draft of my second novel, it was about two-thirds the length that it is now, and it ended much earlier. When I started revising it into a second draft, I couldn't shake the sense that the main character hadn't really completed his journey, that something more had to happen. And I looked back to the beginning.
There I found the seeds to a new ending--not only a new ending, but a new climactic event that was even more dramatic than the event I'd originally thought of as the climax. And now I make this a practice: if I have any trouble figuring out how to end a story, I look back to the beginning and search for seeds that I can water and bring to fruition.