My mom always said I was willing to put my opinions out there. (Got me in trouble more than once.) And I'm doing it again. I really believe that you need to push your characters into the places that make *you* uncomfortable, otherwise you're holding back, and that shows. Basically, if I'm gonna take the time and effort and sacrifice to write a book, I'm gonna write the hell out of it. I mean, what's there to fear? That someone won't like it? That's going to happen anyway. So why not push into the really hard places, stretch yourself, challenge your characters?
No one sits down at their computer and says, "Today, I'm going to write a mediocre book." That's chicken shit. And you know which scenes are half-assed. You write them and think, Well, glad that's done, when you should be thinking, Oh, hell yeah! Take that, bitches! Every word must count. Every sentence should be full of tension. If they don't, get out your red Bic and stabbity-stab-stab. Stab the words that don't serve more than one purpose. Stab the characters who are just being, rather than doing, acting, suffering, loving. And, with the greatest ferocity, stab yourself in the heart. If you can't do that, shut off the computer and go get a sandwich.