As a teacher I would always challenge my teenage and young adult learners to write the counter-case for example in South African history Verwoerd is regarded as a villan for introducing apartheid. However, the white voting population voted for him which suggests there was something in what he was saying that resonated with what people wanted. By exploring the ‘other side’, students would get a better feel for the man and be able to write balanced arguments. Similarly, when one student rejected Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses without having read the book, she was told to do so. Inside knowledge gives strength, power and confidence.
I believe the same applies to writing. Read what others have written – what you like and what you don’t like. Read critically (not to pick holes, but to understand) and then apply it to your own.
Thanks Pablo for image