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How to Write from a Slant

The Vine and the branches. The Good Shepherd and the sheep. The enduring soldier, the rule-keeping athlete, and the hardworking farmer. The Bible is full of slants—ways to approach truth or teach it from an angle. We remember the word pictures we’ve read in the Bible and other books. We may be able to recall the pastor’s stories from last Sunday’s sermon more easily than his three-point outline. We treasure and remember stories and metaphors.

“Head On” Doesn’t Work as Well

The captivating author knows how to write from a slant, from an intriguing angle. Rarely does approaching a subject “head on” work. It may be the best way to teach math and science, but to appeal to readers who want to be inspired or challenged, “head on” often makes for factual and dry reading.  Captivating nonfiction approaches a subject from a slant, as if it’s offering the reader a pair of colored sunglasses to look through as the author writes about his or her subject. The slant colors how the reader approaches the topic and understands it.

What “Sunglasses” Are You Using?

Are you offering your readers the right pair of sunglasses? What slant are you using to write your book? In your introduction, present your slant by starting with a personal story or one you’ve found online or borrowed (with permission) from a friend. A story will grab your readers’ attention and imprint the necessity of your book on their minds and hearts. After your story, transition to your topic. Pick the story whose “punch line” is the perfect lead-in to talk about your book.

For example, the slant I took with my first Bible study, 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory, was Paul’s metaphors of a soldier and an athlete or runner. These word pictures are found in 2 Timothy and became a fun theme to build my book on. I found stories about athletes who exemplified the principles I was writing about. I used the theme of fighting spiritual battles throughout my book and showed how 2 Timothy trains us for warfare. I didn’t have to strain to write a book “head on.” My slant allowed me to be creative, and the words came more easily.

Finding the Right Slant

If you haven’t started writing your book yet, consider what slant you can use. Does your topic offer a slant of its own? Is there some word picture that would help your readers remember your topic?  If you are writing about a Bible passage or book of the Bible, does that portion of Scripture have a particular metaphor? If you are writing about the Christian life, is there a word picture that would help your readers envision your message and want to live it out?

If you’ve already written your book or part of it, did you start with an angle, and use that angle as a foundation for building your book? What story introduces both your slant and your topic? Is your slant strong enough to keep your readers’ attention throughout the book and to help them understand your message?

Don’t forget—present your material with a creative twist, and draw the reader in with a captivating way to look at your topic. Your book will make a greater impact, and you’ll make your message more memorable.

Tips for Finding the Right Slant for Your Nonfiction Book #writingtips #writer Click To Tweet

About Katy Kauffman - Writing Captivating Nonfiction/The Starting Line: First Lines, First Pages

Katy Kauffman - Writing Captivating Nonfiction/The Starting Line: First Lines, First Pages
Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, a ministry which seeks to connect people to God through His Word. She is also an editor and a designer of "Refresh Bible Study Magazine" and the designer of "Broken but Priceless: The Magazine." She writes monthly for The Write Conversation and PursueMagazine.net. She loves to blog about the adventures of life with God, and her books focus on how to win life's spiritual battles. Her book, "Faith, Courage, and Victory," won the 2016 Selah award for Bible studies. Her newest book, "Breaking the Chains" is a compilation releasing April 2017.

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