The scene: my heroine (now called Willa) has just had the rug of her Life Plan pulled out from under her. She's trying to convince another character to give her the opportunity that was just taken away from her. He doesn't want to. She thinks it's because she's a woman, and that's partially true, but really it's more about his own backstory and secret agenda. They're on a river boat with no external conflict; all the "action" in the scene is internal conflict and dialogue. It also seems like a good opportunity to dump a little info.
I've got the last third of the scene almost totally set-- just need to think of a killer closing line (the scene ends a chapter). And I have a strong opening paragraph. But the rest is just not flowing. The preceding scene was also a big dialogue scene, and I'm worrying that this part of the book is just too talky. I'm also not sure what topics should be covered in their conversation. I was going to have Tom (the potential mentor) quiz Willa on the history of their culture, because I'm feeling the time has come to let the reader know who the hell these people are and where the hell they came from... but it's coming out forced and hokey. There's a lot of bits of info about Tom that need to be dropped in (for example: he's a widow; his own childhood dream was thwarted by a disability; he's the mastermind behind a top-secret experimental village... y'know, stuff like that)... but none of it seems like anything he'd discuss with someone he just met. I'm also trying to get across Tom's personality (which is folksy and likable yet kind of humorless) and set up the dynamic between him and Willa (which is her always having to prove herself to him).
I think I'm going to start by working on the part where Tom quizzes Willa. I think it does belong here-- I just need to figure out what details are necessary and interesting. And then I need to write them so they don't suck.
I think I also need to accept that this scene