A writing question

My dad and I have been having a ‘discussion’ the last few weeks about writing. He says you need to write characters that do things you would never do, things that you would be morally opposed to doing. I say you don’t have to do that, that in fact you need to remember to write what you know to stay believable.

I can see his point — I mean, each of us in ourselves are limited and therefore almost shallow, and writing strictly from that perspective would be boring, trite, and predictable. But generally writing characters that we don’t really know relies too much on stereotypes, archetypes, and cliche. I’ve seen good writers do it, and it seems so effortless when they do, but where do you even start?

I suppose questions like this are why I am seeking a degree in writing. I hope the professors and teachers can answer my questions.

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