Woof and Arf love to chase squirrels.
Not a big surprise - they're dogs.
What is a big surprise is that yesterday Arf almost caught one. If that squirrel hadn't flicked up his tail at the last quarter second, it would've been between Arf's teeth. And I'm sure I would've been hauling a bawling Arf to the vet.
As it was, Arf believed that squirrel was Houdini himself - a master escape artist.
Since I'm smack in the middle of drafting a new manuscript, this little scene got me thinking about people and characters. We all have our Arf moments. Something is in our grasp. We know it's ours. Then - poof- it's gone. As it it were never there to begin with.
Think how that makes you feel. Perplexed, for starters. Depending on the situation, it can go in different directions from that point, but the general direction will be downhill.
Now apply that to your characters. Don't let the strong ones always get their way. Let another one snatch your protagonist's birthday cake out from under her nose just as she's blowing out the candles.
It should give you a good twist - just when you need one.