I shall be brief.
Basically, a couple things were emphasized:
First, not all loose ends need to be tied up in a pretty, perfect bow; for the central conflict, yes, but other conclusions might be better left to the reader’s imagination—think Rhett Butler walking out on Scarlett O’Hara. Do they eventually get back together? Your romantic optimism/pessimism will determine that, but Margaret Mitchell didn’t need to in order to effectively give her epic saga adequate closure.
Second, the ending of a story/novel should connect back to everything significant about the beginning. The successful novels that we reviewed all shared in this aspect—they related back to character, setting, and conflict in creative ways, providing a sense of balance and resolution to our story’s main conflict.
In this way, the beginning and end stand together as “book ends” with all that good stuff in between, and as our climax tops out and falls toward denouement, we should keep that falling action brief—end it with a “flick,” as author Wendy Robertson put it succinctly with a visual flick of her wrist. And as author Avril Joy stressed to me during some one-to-one consultation time, if I’m rising toward the climax of my novel (which I presently am), I should resolve it in a matter of a few pages or a chapter and not drag the ending out further than that.
I’m going to execute that advice in not dragging the ending to this post out…on that note, cheers, and keep writing!