Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Infusing Dark Subjects with Light by H. L. Wegley

H. L. Wegley
When I hear the words child trafficking, words associated with darkness and evil come to mind, words like abduction, sexual abuse, slavery, and prostitution. How does one expose this evil without giving the readers a dark story? The short answer is infusing the story with light.

To accomplish this, I tried to follow a couple of simple, logical principles when constructing the plot. The first principle is, light obliterates darkness. So infuse the story with light. But what does one do during the darker moments of the story? They cannot be completely avoided, hence the second principle. Hope is the precursor to light — i.e. it opens the door for light to enter. When the story must grow darker, infuse the situation with hope.

Using the principles of hope and light, I started plotting On the Pineapple Express. During plot construction, the author has a lot of freedom. She/he can place the ugly events on stage, make them happen offstage, or prevent them from happening. I constructed my story so that the most evil aspect of human trafficking, sexual abuse, wouldn’t happen until the captive girls were sold. Instead of the evil, I created an imminent threat of evil. This worked well, heightening the suspense by providing a ticking clock against which my protagonists must work to locate the girls before they were sold.

Creating the threat of evil, and substituting it for graphic evil and violence, is a great alternative. When creating the threat of something evil, like sexual abuse, the author can choose words that paint a partial picture allowing readers to complete it with their imaginations. This is preferable to spoon-feeding horrifying, R-rated images to readers.

One way that I inject hope is to put a person of faith in the scene, a person who shares applicable truths from God’s word. Mild spoiler alert — in On the Pineapple Express, my heroine shares scripture with the captive girls showing God’s heart for the oppressed.

In the end, light must win. Goodness and justice must prevail, defeating the darkness. My heroine summed this up by saying her role became clear to her, woven into the tapestry of a story only a good God could write. I believe that’s where all of us, readers and writers, want our stories to end.

The details and statistics on human trafficking, I relegated to the epilogue, where my heroine gives a speech to concerned students and parents.

Treating the dark subject in this way, I have no reservations about giving this book to my 14-year-old granddaughter to read. She would profit from it far more than from a book filled with graphic descriptions of sex trafficking.

About the Author
About H. L. Wegley
On the Pineapple Express
by H. L. Wegley
H. L. Wegley served in the USAF as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. In civilian life, he was a weather forecaster and a research scientist in atmospheric physics. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he developed computing systems for Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 47 years enjoy small-group ministry, grandchildren, hiking Olympic Peninsula beaches, snorkeling Maui whenever they can, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic-suspense novels.

On the Pineapple Express
In one of the most beautiful places on earth the ugliest of crimes holds young, innocent lives in its evil grip. An intercepted cell-phone call from a remote area on the Olympic Peninsula tells beautiful, brilliant NSA researcher, Jennifer Akihara, a group of girls will soon be sold into slavery by human traffickers. She enlists her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help find the holding location and convince the FBI to intervene. With the clock ticking off the last few hours before both the sale of the girls and the arrival of a deadly storm, and with international criminals pursuing them, can Jennifer and Lee save the girls, or will their wedding plans be cancelled ... permanently?