From reading the first 15 or so pages from They Say/ I Say you can learn quite a bit about persuasive writing. Here is what I got out of it:
No one is born a great writer. Just like someone gets good at a sport or hobby, writing well and effectively takes practice, especially when it comes to arguing. As a starting point, TS/IS gives templates for this. As the title shows, you need to take two things into consideration when writing an argument.
- What you say
- What they say
You can not effectively prove a point without somehow showing someone else’s point of view. If you say something obvious that no one would disagree with (for example: Water is important.) then there’s no point to writing it, at least for arguments sake. You need to be able to state your ideas while presenting the ideas of another person or group. That being said, you DO NOT HAVE TO PICK ONE SIDE TO AN ARGUMENT. Teachers in high school would commonly tell you to just pick one side and do not go back on your ideas. You can, if need be, say “They say that __________. I disagree with _____________, because ____________ but agree that ____________ due to _____________.” You do not always have to completely agree or disagree with someone’s opinion.
While writing, you need to predict what questions people could pose to your statement(s). Try to address as many of those as possible. Writing is a one sided conversation, but if you can dress any doubts a reader may have about what you’re saying, then you are writing an effective argument.
Furthermore, keep in mind that using any sort of template does not take away creativity. You can change whatever needed to fit your writing at any time. It’s like when someone teaches you how to do something. You built off that to create a method that works for you.