Recently, I saw a documentary called “GasLand,” about the effects of natural gas extraction. In fact, I wrote about it this week in Rants and Raves. I believe what I heard and it shook me. It had the desired effect on me. In large part due to the slant it took.
With the lack of response from the people responsible, the slant of GasLand naturally fell to the people who are suffering to tell the story. There are other ways it could’ve been told, both in context and content. It could have come from the angle of a message: Did we not learn from the experience of the Dust Bowl? Mess with the Earth and she will strike back. We may emotionally tell how fracking has impacted our own life. It could’ve been an in depth, scientific study of how hydraulic fracturing works. Or, told from the perspective of the oil and natural gas companies, we would have seen a very different film. Same story, told in different ways.
As writers, we can decide where we stand as we tell our stories. A slant allows you to narrow your vision into a specific topic or angle. (It’s all about light, isn’t it?) When you choose a slant for whatever you’re writing, you make a choice about where you stand and from what perspective you will write. This helps focus your work. So you know before you start where you are going. It gives you a homing signal to aim for as you write. This can help your odds of delivering the right message and your piece having the desired effect.
In life, we can use this slant to choose how we will view the changing situations in front of us. To get clearer on what it is we believe about something. Decide where we stand. How we see things can have a huge impact on our enjoyment of life. We can choose to see things as bleak or as hopeful.
Now might be a good time to define the positive slant. It is a way of seeing the best in any given circumstance. Not always easy to do. I seem to naturally topple into a much darker point of view. It takes effort to change my position. Taking the positive slant does not deny the facts on the ground, nor is it strictly putting a positive spin on what is not. It’s merely slanting it, using a loving filter, shining a softer light. Seeing all the refractions and finding how it can be used to move forward, to help do things in a more positive, life-affirming way.
In writing, the slant can be every which way. But it is up to the writer to figure where the piece will be written from. If you start seeing it from the left side and then jump to the right you will confuse your readers. Make sure it is your perspective and not the one you think you should have. If it’s authentic and consistent, in the end you will write a tighter piece.