The Insecure Writers’ Support Group posts the first Wednesday of the month. IWSG is where writers can write about their insecurities without feeling threatened. If you're reading this as a writer and have any insecurities about your writing, join us. Every month we are given a subject to write about, or we are free to write about whatever we want.
This month's question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?
I don't know if this counts as a story, but it was certainly a weird assignment. It was the mid-1960s, and I was a high school student wanting to improve my history grade. English was my favorite subject, but history was always a challenge for me. One day I approached my history teacher and asked if I could do a paper for extra credit in his class. The instructor had complimented me on my essays in the past, and I thought it might be an easy way for me to turn my "C" into a "B." He was eager to help. In retrospect, he was perhaps a little too enthusiastic about my suggestion.
He pulled a book and a bundle of handwritten papers from his bottom desk drawer and handed the package to me. His instructions were for me to use the material and the library to provide him with twenty typewritten, double-spaced pages explaining which of the procedures (in the book and information from my additional research) would be most effective in gaining the best results and why.
I got an "A" in history that term, but I had nightmares about the assignment long after it was completed. I don't know if the teacher was weird, unbalanced, or working on something for publication. My essay was much better than his handwritten composition, so I like to think it was the latter. So what was the problem with this particular assignment? I was a little young for the topic. (I still am.)
The subject of my paper was, "Effective Torture Techniques Used Throughout History."