Tostitos. Salsa. Beer (in a Tostitos Salsa jar). A tube of Icy Hot. Plenty of scratch paper. And a laptop with Microsoft Office on it. That works.
I finally figured out I needed to raise the stakes for Jake, without seeming to raise them. And so I have. I think. It meant restructuring Chapters 1 and 2 for the umpteenth time, but it's finally getting close to what I want. The beer helped loosen me up...unless it was the tabasco sauce on top the salsa. I love that shit.
I just hope I'm not making Jake come across as weak in any way. He's not. He's got the heart of a wolf in him and knows who he is and what people are like. But even a wolf likes to play and nip at other wolves, now and then. Get its ears scratched if it's been raised around humans. All creatures long for the touch of another of their species. The connection fills a need.
I'm also having fun trying to keep Jake from seeming to be a gossip, or too easily revealing secrets. I've run into that problem a couple of times in the story and sort of found ways to dance around it, but this takes a lot of work. He'd never tell all, no matter what. It's not who he is.
It also helped that I expanded Tone's part in the first couple of chapters. He was a bit too much in the background; something of a hanger-on instead of a partner to Jake. Now he's got a life of his own that's parallel to his guy's without being unrealistic. Better balance.
Of course, this is the story of my writing -- I set out to make a simple mystery and wind up writing a book as complex as James Joyce's Ulysses. God only knows how many people will read it, now. but the story is what it is.
It also helped that I watched High & Low, again, and marveled at the precision of Kurosawa's directing. He should've got the Oscar for Ran.
Maybe I'll do repeat of today's details, tomorrow...see what that brings...so long as I don't have a hangover.