I'm struggling with a scene right now. It's not a long scene, and I know exactly what needs to happen in it. What's throwing me is tone. Willa has just been informed that she's stuck with Akenam for the foreseeable future. Akenam's mask is the Jester: he's witty, irreverent, and more than a bit of a smart-ass. That's not all he is, but that's how he appears, and to Willa, who takes her situation verrrrrrrrry seriously, he is an annoyance at best and dangerous at worst. He is escorting her to her quarters in the Terran Resettlement Project's compound, and being his banter-y, smart-assy self. But I'm having a hard time making him be actually funny, in addition to being slightly obnoxious. I think he's coming off as kind of a jack-ass, and that's not the opinion I want the reader to have of him.
It bugs me, how such a tiny thing-- maybe 10 lines of dialogue exchanged-- can slow me down so much.