Humans have been fighting with ideas since we came into existence. Of course, today's methods are much more sophisticated- we have the ability to write essays. In addition, persuasive essays are quite interesting to write, and they allow a certain amount of creativity and critical thinking to become known. The most important things to remember is that essays are part of a process- often superficial arguments on an issue are very simplistic and do not address the actual issue. That is more complicated. Therefore, a good persuasive essay is a dialog, anticipated counterarguments and addressing them.
When writing a persuasive essay, keep in mind who you are writing for. People are complicated, and many things worth writing a persuasive essay about are topics that can get people very emotional. In addition, because these topics are emotional, it is easy to alienate your audience, especially if they do not initially agree with you. In addition, what is the point of preaching to the choir? To combat this, make sure that you really empathize with your audience. Remember, the audience of a good persuasive essay is people that disagree with you. So make sure that your essay at least attempts to bridge the gap and make sure that you do not dismiss people just because they are wrong.
The biggest problem with persuasive writing is that so many writers merely engage on surface issues. This is problematic because it does not address any real problems, and just continues a pointless argument. Instead, realize that what the points an opponent of yours is going to make, and address each of those points. Even if some of those points have merit, make sure to explain why these points are not as important as the other points you are making- this is the essence of debate and public discourse.
In games, there is the concept of leveling- there is what you are thinking, then what your opponent is thinking, then what you think they are thinking, and what you think they think and so on. This is also true of persuasion and argumentative discourse. Therefore, few people keep this in mind. So realize that not only are you going to have counterarguments to what they are saying, but they are also going to have counterarguments to your counterarguments. This cannot keep going, of course, it would get silly, but realize that you should look for flaws in all your arguments, and be prepared to level when necessary.
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