Beginnings are difficult. Endings are difficult. But connecting them is the most difficult of all.
As usual, a few plot holes have opened up during revisions, a few broken bridges between the Beginning and the Ending. To fix them, to tie up the loose strings, I am writing from the outside in...from the beginning toward the middle, but also from the ending toward the middle, until the two meet.
To to this, I take each character's story arc and ask myself, Where does this person need to end up? Then I ask, where does this person need to begin? Then...in theory...it's just a matter of figuring out the steps in between. Generally I try to have each major character show up once a chapter, and supporting characters at least three times in the book. I have a lot of characters, so this in itself can be tricky. My main characters have one to three scenes per chapter.
Designing each individual story arc is not too hard, in and of itself; the tricky part comes when I juggle them. I have to make certain the logistics are feasible. Scene X logically must come before Scene Y. But I also try to coordinate the themes of each scene, which should contribute to the mini-story arc and theme of each chapter. (Each chapter has its own chapter theme, which contributes to the larger theme of the book.)
For instance, the chapter theme in the first book of The Unfinished Song: Sacrifice, is "Recrudescence," or the resurgence of a disease which had been dormant or cured. For a few characters, their recrudescence is literal, and they suffer a relapse of the disfiguring skin disorder they had when they were Shunned. For most of the others, however, the recrudesce plays out more symbolically. Kavio discovers an old enemy is back, in an unexpected position of strength. Brena meets the bear again and realizes her injury is getting worse. Gremo... well, I could go on, but I won't spoil anything by saying that Dindi also finds something won't stay down, so to speak.
Each scene focuses on a different character dealing with a relapse or reoccurrence of a problem or person who was supposed to be gone. The chapter as a whole contributes to the book's overall theme of sacrifice because the each person will realize in their own way that to truly conquer their problems, they have to do more. They have to give up more than they thought to gain what they want... possibly much more than they are willing to give.