How to Handle Bad Critics in Workshops

Every group has one. That one person that poops on everyone’s work, but is appalled at any criticism of their own piece. That writer who has a full blown Messiah complex with their work. Or that person who doesn’t know how to give constructive criticism. We’ve all had to deal with one at some point.

Look, just because you want to smack them, you can’t. That is assault and also, your writing arm is too precious. So here are some tips to handle that person you wish would stop coming to meetings in a civilized manner.

Take It All With a Grain of Salt

Their opinion is just that, an opinion, and it doesn’t have to effect you in any way if you don’t let it. I have developed a habit where the first thing I say when I’m beta-reading or editing I let the writer know that everything I say is a suggestion and they can completely ignore it if it doesn’t match what they were trying accomplished.

Take a Deep Breath and Talk Calmly

Maybe they don’t understand the story, so calmly discuss it with them. Answer any and all questions they have.

Ask Them Questions

Nothing makes them more uncomfortable than having to justify their reasons.

Pair with Someone Else

If worst comes to worst, ask if you can work with a different person.


You don’t have to leave the group and one person shouldn’t keep you from getting a benefit from the workshop.

Don’t let one person ruin your opportunity of improving your writing.

That sounds so good I think I’ll make a picture for that. 🙂

Don't let one person ruin your opportunity of improving your writing.


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