Nancy Kress recently did a short post on how she fixed a story ending that wasn’t working, although it sneaks in as part of a post about other things.
The short version, for those not inclined to follow links, goes something like this:
Step One: go back to the last point where the story last excited you.
Step Two: Change the action of a secondary character.
Step Three: Chart the protagonists response to that change.
I may have sat there staring at the advice for a good ten minutes this morning, wondering how the hell I’d never thought of it. I mean, it’s simple and rather obvious, but seeing it articulated like that as a process is somewhat revelatory.