One of the biggest challenges I faced in the tale of Mexico was getting in Nick's head. I knew he was skimming through life without disturbing the peace, but what else was going on? Meanwhile, Pete made perfect sense. I knew exactly how he felt toward everyone around him. His guilt. His flippant responses to most of life.
I did a loose "character biography" that would be better categorized as a freewrite inside of Nick's and Kristina's heads. I got so much out of Kristina that about one-third of what I wrote became a direct monologue. She was reckless and broken but always self-aware. Nick kept up the poker face. He came out in small anecdotes. Some scenes I never used, like his two-week "stoner phase" that ended abruptly when he was almost randomly drugtested for the NCAA. But I figured out why he was always so damn responsible by one brief line from his father. What it took to get him angry, and how he could control anything but those outbursts.
I think now that one difference between the ease and the struggle was that Pete and Kristina are realists. They expect nothing from the world. Nick should know better, but he still believes that life should be different.