We can learn a lot about endings from TV. Today I want to compare two of my favorite shows and season finales. Now, I know this is different from the end of a book, but it is similar to the end of the first book or two in a series.
Anyway, I felt cheated. Six years of waiting for that tension to be released and the writers skipped over the whole thing to the point you weren't sure what even happened. (plus season six made the Bones character stupid)
Contrast that with this year's season finale of Castle. Four years of Beckett and Castle avoiding their feelings for each other. But in the end we get to see Beckett knocking on Castle's door. We see the kiss, we see her take his hand and lead him elsewhere. We get the "ahh" moment we've been waiting for. And then cut scene to the stakes being raised for next season.
One "ending" failed in it's purpose--to make me wait anxiously for the next show. One was perfect.
When you reach the end of your book, take the time to think about where your readers are emotionally invested. Then take the time needed to satisfy them. This doesn't mean you have to write happy endings--our discussion of the Hunger Games proved that.
The ending must make plot sense, stay in character with all that came before, show character growth, and give closure.
And I know, easier said than done.