I have a deep and abiding inability to just let things go.
As I may have mentioned in a previous post, I got into a small argument with the writer GoH, Michael Stackpole, during a CONduit panel this weekend. The argument was whether you can learn anything by writing fanfic. I, of course, am firmly in the camp that you do. I maintain that I would not be nearly the writer I am today (which is, apparently, not all that, considering the number of rejections I've gotten just this week), without the practice I obtained writing fanworks.
Mr. Stackpole said that it was like putting on "training wheels," and you'd be better off just jumping on the bike and going for a ride. This...may be true. I wouldn't know; I didn't come up that way. I didn't begin writing until Spike started whispering in my ear. Whether or not I'd be ahead of the game had I started writing original fiction is moot, because I wasn't actually inspired to write original fiction.
So. Leaving aside the fact that we write what we're inspired to write...
I find this attitude rather comical coming from someone who gets paid (generously) to write what is basically Star Wars fanfic.
And I would have liked to ask him (why can't I think of these questions in the heat of the moment???) if he didn't learn anything about writing, while writing in the Star Wars 'verse. Did the only time he learned techniques like characterization, dialogue, plot, pacing, etc, only happen when he wrote his own characters?
Because, that strikes me as being a patently ridiculous argument, especially considering the source.
At least now I have an debating point to toss at tie-in writers *cough*LeeGoldberg*cough* when they holler and shout about how fanfic doesn't teach you anything about writing.