Let's revisit that bear analogy. It resonates with me at the moment, since my yard was recently invaded. I took the dogs out early one morning, it was pitch black and they FREAKED out, barking, snarling - and frankly, scaring the crap out of me. I managed to get them inside the house, though they fought against their leashes the whole way. When the sun came up, I found out why. A bear had busted down a section of our fence to access our overripe crab apples and ripped down several branches for easy munching. Here's a pic of the damage:
The bear came back a few nights later, so we eliminated the problem - shook all the apples down and got rid of them. We've since fixed the fence and all's well. But, being a paranormal fiction author, I had to question - since we never really saw the bear - what if this incident didn't have an easy, natural explanation? What if something paranormal was at work? What if, instead of a bear, our house (which backs onto miles of woods) was encroaching on the territory of some other creature? Something old, something evil? A starving thing, desperate and hungry?
Like I said, me and that bear have a lot in common. We're both hoarding up all the nutrients we can - only in my situation - it's writerly goodness. And from the bear came the the geniuses of my NANO project. A busted fence, branches down from a tree - with huge claw marks carving up the trunk - black oozy liquid on the frosted lawn, leaving a trail to the woods, and a frazled single parent who poopoos her imaginative teen-aged daughter's foreboding feeling away.
Then things get worse....much, much worse.
Good luck to all NANO participants - here's to hunting down a wicked plot and characters to DIE for!