I recently let go of a story that I had been holding back for over a year. It was edited by Liane and I think that was late in 2011. I submitted 'The Soup' to the St. Somewhere Journal and it was published in their April 2013 issue.
(Note, this is NOT a children's story.)
I don't recall what prompted me to write on this particular topic. This is unusual for me because I usually recall the passing word or image that planted the first seed of a story in my mind. I do know that the ending was never in doubt; it was the natural culmination of the chain of events and so it was a genuine surprise that so many readers have seen the ending as a "twist". Was this a failing on my part to use foreshadowing to prepare my readers?
Another response that has surprised me is from two readers who have connected personally with the story and have seen it as a warning of sorts. I wish that I could honestly say that I wrote it with that in mind; that I planned that the story would have an impact on someone, even save their life. The truth is that, while I usually write my children's story with a particular theme in mind, The Soup was just a story that came to my mind and out through my pen without a motive. (Of course, I won't admit that when I eventually accept my Pulitzer Prize ;-). )
Have you written a story and then been surprised at how others have perceived it, or the things they have discovered in it, things that were so well hidden they were invisible even to you?