I heard something today about exposing yourself to as many people and cultures as possible to help expand your writing capability. It was probably something off of Writing Excuses, so I'll credit them just in case, but honestly, I don't really remember. The main point, though, was that even if we think we're varying up our characters and basing them on real people so that we can express real traits, we need to realize that our circle of friends is rarely diverse.
It makes sense when you think about it. Why are you friends with these people? It's likely not because they disagree with you. You all probably use a lot of the same mannerisms, the same slang or idioms. You likely have the same views on more controversial topics and that can make it hard to write from the opposing side. Or, hell, to just write from opposing sides of any topic, really.
I know not everyone can afford to move around the world or even just their country, but we do live in an incredibly amazing time. Communication is simple and everywhere. We have examples of other people and cultures at our fingertips! I might encourage you as today's challenge to go to YouTube or Facebook and look up a group who's ideology is something your disagree with. Now, I'm not saying you have to go find a hate group and binge their playlist, but look at people who are voicing opinions you don't share. Understand that they believe what they're saying and they have reasons for it. If you can understand why groups feel the way they do, why people act the way they do, you'll be all the better prepared to write a plethora of unique and diverse characters. And that means more readers will see themselves in your writing, and that's always a good thing.
Be Excellent to Each Other
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.