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Writing Historical Fiction and Cultural Appropriation





I don’t know many people who mean to be insensitive to others. That result tends to happen simply because we don’t think deeply enough about what we say, which might be rooted in having a privileged background in some way (financially, culturally, ethnically, etc.).


For example, even as a girl I didn’t like when anyone said, “You throw like a girl.” The implication is girls are inferior and can’t learn to throw well even if they get lessons. That and I knew most girls — at least back when — weren’t exposed to, or encouraged to participate in, the same level of physical ball-throwing games as boys.


That said, I now cringe when remembering instances where I spouted some popularly-held opinion only to later discover how insensitive the remark had been.


You can imagine my level of anxiety, then, at being as sensitive as possible when writing a novel about Native Americans when I’m not Native. I write about the experience in the above article.


If you get a chance to read it, let me know your thoughts!


What’s a saying or behavior you find insensitive?


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For updates about Martha’s forthcoming books, news and giveaways, subscribe to her website: MarthaEngber.com.


THE FALCON, THE WOLF AND THE HUMMINGBIRD a historical novel, Sept. 19, 2023


BLISS ROAD, a memoir


WINTER LIGHT, a novel


THE WIND THIEF, a novel


GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS, a resource for writers


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