Lord of the Rings slash (deep pencil)
Slash fiction is fan-fiction that focuses on romantic relationships (often, but not necessarily, homosexual). Tosenberger explores the high levels of Harry Potter slash fiction as a form of twenty-first century poaching in his essay, “Homosexuality at the Online Hogwarts”. Slash can help provide a supportive community for adolescents, to guide each other through a time of growth and development. The structure of slash allows fans the opportunity to become text creators, “outside the classroom and beyond any direct adult control”. Textual poaching allows young writers to “take on the mantle of author, a role which traditionally publishing reserves for the cultural elite”, thereby giving fans a level of power in a secure, anonymous environment, increased by the easily accessible internet.
There is a great amount of freedom for slash authors and they can stick as closely to the original canon as they want. Some fans claim their slash pairings or relationships are based upon a reading of subtext which they find present in the original. Jenkins discusses the consumer/producer relationship in Textual Poachers and the audience involvement which is encouraged by fan groups. This line is often blurred with the fan reader becoming the fan writer, such as in slash. Relations can be hostile with some fans happy to fill out the blanks while others look to the creator for direction. In the online slash fiction world almost every Harry Potter pairing can be found in thousands of different situations. Some of these follow closely to the series while others poach just a character pair and all of the dialogue and fiction details are imaginary.
Host sites will sometimes use the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings system as a guide for viewers so that they are aware of the level of sexual content in the individual stories, while other's just use 'adult' or 'all ages' (eg. Slash Fan Fiction.com) However this is done only as a guide and there is no official policing of slash content. Slash fiction is a popular way for fans to actively express their interpretations and subtext readings and the freedom and anonymous nature of the internet allows every fan the opportunity to be who they want to be and pen whatever they want to write, which ultimately results in a variety of slash fiction content.