Somehow I assumed that the comments in last night's posting would be read at least as a response to the question I was replying to. Judging by the astonishing number of mostly more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger (but occasionally pretty nasty) FAQmails coming in and telling me off in no uncertain terms, it wasn't seen as a reply to that one question (do you think writing fanfiction is useful for honing writing skills), but as an all-out attack on a lifestyle, ie. people who write fan-fiction.
Having said that, it also looked like a lot of the people telling me off hadn't even read the whole post, or had just seen other people on other sites quoting the last paragraph, which was then extensively quoted back at me as evidence that: I don't know what I'm talking about; do not understand that people are writing fan-fiction for pleasure, or that fan-fiction is a valid artistic purpose in itself; that I am myself nothing more than a glorified fan writer; that people writing movies and TV shows and comics and books are really writing fan-fiction; that real life is really fan-fiction; that all comics writers are writing fan fiction and what about that time I wrote (insert comics/historical/mythical characters I didn't create here)?; that Shakespeare was writing fan fiction; and that my choice to write fiction that I do not call fan-fiction should not be seen in any way as a reflection on those who wear their fan-fiction proudly. Also if I'd just read some decent Buffy/Smallville/Legolas/Gone With the Wind fan-fiction I wouldn't have been so rude about those who choose to write it.
(All taken from real e-mails, with no exaggeration. And I'm still trying to work out how I was rude about people who wrote fan-fiction. But obviously feelings were hurt, and I'm sorry about that. If I'm going to ruffle feathers I want to do it on purpose.)
Anyway. Point taken. You can all stop writing in about it now, please.
You know, the trouble with a journal like this is that I hate repeating myself, so I didn't bother saying anything I'd already said elsewhere -- in the April 8th 2002 blog entry for example. This was obviously a mistake. Ah well.
Anyway, by way of apology let me offer this piece of very cool fan-fiction from the Onion, as the U.N orders Wonka to submit to Chocolate Factory Inspections.