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Getting Into Their Skins
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When writers start to talk about "getting into their characters' skins" I don't reach for my gun, but I get annoyed. The phrase just gets under my skin. Or, I guess I should say, gets up my nose. I'm sure a good author at one time or another has used the phrase, so please don't take offense, but in my experience it's always some guy with a bad case of swollen pretenses.

I'm not so sure I shouldn't reach for my gun. To me the phrase "getting into my characters' skins" conjures up a creepy, psychopathic serial killer.

I stood outside the garage while the medical examiner showed me his guts. I'd never seen the medical examiner heave up his guts before. Maybe over a few bottles of tequila, but never over a corpse. When he finally looked at me, even under the blood you could see his face was white as a geisha girl's. "I've never seen anything like it." His voice sounded like a dying breath. "He's been in their skins. The crazy s.o.b's been in his victims' skins."

Not that the wearers-of-others-skins write dreadful thrillers. Mostly it seems to be dreadful poetry or literary fiction. Usually when I read their stuff I feel like telling them, yes, your writing is just like being in somebody's skin. Bloody awful!

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