I asked Ping what his options were if his story doesn't work out. (It will, but I try not to tell the characters that.) First thing he said was "suicide". I had been thinking he might murder his grandma, but apparently that's way down the list.
So suicidal it was. And since the banality of the opening scene made me cringe, I cranked that up to something he's actively wrestling with. That's changed the tone of a couple scenes, so far. One where the emotions turned into a triggering situation (as an aside, I'll admit I've never been entirely clear on the meaning of the "trigger" tag you see around... postings labeled "Warning: may be triggering"... well, I think I've got it now) and one where he suddenly got pathetically desperate. Interesting. He's a lot closer to the edge than I expected.
Should be good for the story. Don't feel like I'm in a position to judge right now.
Past the four thousand word mark as of AM on the 20th, might be at the halfway point.
Here's a slightly different question: in those times that the character has surprised you with a development, has it ever turned out to be the wrong way to go?