The Writer Thin Skin Test Plus Pushy Writer Film

The test is designed to ferret out lurking narcissists, drama queens, and various immature writers who might best be served by not attending workshops or retreats any time soon. Feel free to use this test on any candidates for your own writer events 

                                                                                                                          - Michael Neff 
                                                                                                                             WE Chief Editor

  • Has any writer ever prefaced their critique of your work by first saying to you, "Don't hate me, please?"
  • Do you sense that writers who unfavorably critique your work are "loading the gun" and taking aim?
  • Do you rush to defend your work when a reader gives you criticism rather than absorb and weigh it carefully?
  • Do you feel a need to say unkind things about a writer's work if you perceive she or he was unkind to you first?
  • Have you ever chastised any writer for what you consider to be improper or incorrect critique of your work?
  • Have you ever been in writer workshops and reacted to criticism of your writing or story by demanding the other writer defend their decision in such detail that it served your purpose of making certain they never gave you unfavorable critique again?
  • Do you receive critique you oppose in good humor, but routinely seek the negation of it from those you know will agree with your version of reality?
  • Do you see yourself in one of the pushy and ill-informed stereotypes depicted in the film above?


  1. Comical, but telling. One of the mistakes I used to make was describing something I was working on by talking in vague, general circles without giving any real information about the novel. One of the women in this video demonstrates one of my key shortcomings. I groaned when I listened to her, as I am sure others have done when listening to me. I have learned that a concise well-spoken or written synopsis of the work in progress is essential when pitching a story. Or pitching anything, for that matter.

  2. No, I appreciate when anyone bothers to put any thought into my work. The only critics I mind are those who want the author to change details that offend the critic's personal beliefs. One example would be a critic who wanted me to take firearms out of a novel that contained a number of characters who were soldiers; she disliked reading about people carrying guns. No story is going to please everyone. It's foolish for a writer to make that his or her goal.

    1. There is a lot of stupid advice out there, but that is why we always use models and examples of great writing and plotting. Our intent is to provide the correct advice.

  3. Since my memoir was published, six authors have asked me to review and post a "blurb."
    I simply couldn't on five of them. Their work was far from ready. it's tricky to be tactful so you don't crush their heart. But I couldn't have my name on such incomplete work. So what I'm saying is that I appreciate intelligent, experienced and skilled critique for my work. Yes, it crushes at times, but that's what cut and paste is for. Just move it to a folder for another book!

  4. That last 5 seconds of the video.... hahahahahaha! my eyes are watering. thank you so much for all the information on this page and elsewhere.