I'm within three chapters of finishing my first draft (and they aren't even big chapters) but I've been fighting and fighting with them and recently realized that I can't write them without believing in my present bad guy more than I do.
So I'm backing off from the chapters and doing some villain work.
The villain is the main problem I'm facing, but working on him also made me realize that I need to make some other characters in the book less pleasant--there are too many nice people right now. I think this is a result of me being in my winter mode and wishfully writing what I'd like to be surrounded by, as though crafting nasty characters is just too hard for my brain in the midst of the dark and cold days. I can imagine a sunny, warm day, sitting out on the deck and having a great time writing a really despicable character. But right now, when I feel the world is not an overly easy place to live in I'm doing a much better job crafting the kind characters--I've developed a sibling relationship that was a little thin and have filled in some of the (pleasant) background characters. But if I want to finish the draft, I'm going to have to get over the niceness hump* and write the meanies.
So I went out and bought a bag full of out-of-season non-local fruit: strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and kiwis. Maybe I can trick my brain into summer mode for a short while, just long enough for me to crank out some really nasty characters to make my book more interesting.
And if you have any great villains you think I should keep in mind, please let me know!
*The niceness thing does not apply to me. I am not nice to be around now. In fact the best I can do is resolve not to be as unpleasant this February as I was last year. That's hard enough.