I was inspired recently to do the unexpected in storytelling. When you watch a romantic comedy, you know the male and female lead will end up together. When you watch an action movie, you can bet the bad guy is going down in the end. When you read a high fantasy story, you can bet your peasant kid is going to become the next closest thing to a god. What I'm talking about isn't necessarily as cliched or overarching as these examples. I mean making your story unpredictable--but not in a bad way. When you see something you've seen before, you naturally predict where it's going. I don't want to be random for the sake of being random, but it is possible through good storytelling to make your audience just as unsure of the outcome as your main character. Or even less sure, if your MC is overconfident. One of the things I've been experimenting with is taking out the 'correct' resolution to the situation at hand. Whatever the character does, it's not going to turn out very well. The second thing I've been doing is is not shying away from punishing characters for their mistakes. Whether its in the reactions of other characters, or if the consequences just come up to screw with them later on, messing up changes the story. How do you guys surprise your readers? Any ideas for making the next step difficult to discern (in a way that builds anticipation, not frustration), but sensible in hindsight?