Back in December, Adam Claxton wrote here, asking how (and here I paraphrase and oversimplify) a new writer can cope with the despair that seems to be an intrinsic part of being a writer. I answered him as honestly as I could. And then an interesting thing happened.
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro picked up the question and used it as the basis for a Locus Online roundtable discussion.
So now such literary luminaries as Peter Straub, Cecelia Holland, Jeffrey Ford, Michael Dirda, and many more (hi, Cat!) have put serious thought into Adam's question. Simply because it was a good one.
When writers are just starting out, the awareness of how little inflence they have can be enervating. Yet with one good question, Adam was able to, if only briefly, engage the thoughts of people he must surely admire.
This shows the power of good questions. They get even more powerful when you ask them of a story you're writing. Not questions you already know the answers to, but ones you don't. Questions like "What would a woman really do in this situation?" Or "How would this technology change the people who use it?" Or (and this is a classic) "Who gets hurt?"
Ask good questions. Let your story answer them. You'll be surprised what it has to say.
You can read the Locus Roundtable here. And you can read the original blogpost here.
Above: As always, writing advice applies only to those for whom it works. There are all kinds of writers. If the above doesn't work for you, you're just not the kind of writer for whom it works.