1.Not All Slash is Bad Slash
2.Some Of It, however, Is
3.Canon? AU? Ambiguous?
4.Sex Scenes and How to Survive Them
5.Not Biologically Possible
6.Why AU Can’t Get You out of Everything
7.Removing the Author’s Influence over the Canons
8.Tying up Loose Ends

1. Not All Slash is Bad Slash

Tolerating slash even though it’s not your thing

If, as an Agent, you are assigned a mission which contains slash, it is imperative that you ask yourself the following questions before charging:

  • Is it possible that these two characters would act in this manner in Canon?
  • Have either of the characters shown an inclination or given any indication of their sexual or romantic interests toward each other within the Canon?

If the answer to either or both of these questions is “yes,” then it is very likely that the slash in question is not Bad Slash and, as such, will have to be tolerated.

You must take what you know about the characters into question and apply it to the situation. Not all uncanonical slash is Bad Slash – some of it is merely an exploration into possible avenues as may have been indicated or left open by the creator of the continuum in question. If this is the case, then you are going to have to look elsewhere for charges.

It is also worth noting that slash not feasible in the Canon can still be good slash, just as a girl dropping into Middle-earth can still make a good story. For more on this, see Chapter 3.

2. Some Of It, however, Is

How to spot Bad Slash

In the vast majority of cases where the answer to either question presented in Chapter 1 is a resounding “No!”, you are dealing with a case of Bad Slash. A few general indicators of Bad Slash are as follows:

  • A character who is very clearly presented as heterosexual is suddenly thrust into a homosexual relationship.
  • A character who has a canonical female love interest/girlfriend/fiancée/wife has suddenly dropped her in favor of a male lover.
  • Conversely, a character who is known to have no love interest is suddenly very involved with a canonical male of the writer’s choosing.

In all of the situations listed here, the Agent is going to have to deal with at least one very OOC Canon, and most probably two. The OOCness ratings acquired from your CAD in situations such as these make excellent charges.

3. Canon? AU? Ambiguous?

How OOC do the characters need to be for it to work

It is a common misconception that all AU stories are somehow unworthy. This is not the case. It is entirely possible to write a goodfic in which Legolas and Aragorn are homosexual lovers. However, to do so requires a major re-envisioning of the background of the Canon. In this example, in the world of Lord of the Rings, one would have to rework everything back to the original awakening of the Elves to allow for the possibility that an Elf would enter into such a relationship. The entire history from that point on, then, must either be rewritten or justified in light of this reworked information. If Legolas is wandering around jumping into bed with everyone he sees, then he must be either representative of the Elves in general – in which case family conflicts in the First Age would fundamentally alter the history of the world – or something new, different, and disgraceful, in which case he would, among other consequences, be highly unlikely to be allowed to show his face in Mirkwood, Rivendell (that’s right, he couldn’t be in the Fellowship), Lothlórien, or any other Elven land.

The basic lesson here is that when you alter something about a world, you have to explore all the consequences of that change. If you do so, and alter the backstory accordingly, you have a valid AU. If the situation you are writing about could not have come about except through all the characters going suddenly and unjustifiably insane, you are looking at a badfic.

So yes, characters can have different personalities, but if they do, these differences must still allow them to reach the point they are at when the story begins. If Legolas and Aragorn were at it like small furry mammals all through the Ring Quest, they would be dead many times over before you could write about their happy life in Minas Tirith.

4. Sex Scenes and How to Survive Them

Not your grade school sex-ed class

There is no set procedure to follow when dealing with sex scenes. If you are an Agent working in the Bad Slash Department, it stands to reason that you have a fairly strong constitution when it comes to dealing with this particular situation, and it is expected that you can handle whatever an Author can dish out. However, if you are working in another Department and find yourself assigned to a mission that includes bad slash plus gratuitous sex scenes, please feel free to try any of the suggestions listed below:

  • Cover your eyes and/or ears.
  • Wait in a different area for the duration of the scene.
  • Make your partner watch while you distract yourself.
  • Make use of CD players, iPods, or various other electronic devices to block out sounds. Please use headphones if you utilize this option.
  • If all else fails, beat your head against a solid object until the scene is no longer visible through the clouds of stars and infra-black.

Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to come up with your own way of dealing with sex scenes, as long as you don’t miss any charges that may occur while the scene is taking place. With this one consideration in mind, please feel free to improvise.

5. Not Biologically Possible

M-preg and disposing of foetuses

The male pregnancy (also known as “M-preg”) is most commonly used by the Slash writer when she wants to include children in her favorite male/male relationship but does not want to include a female character in the proceedings. It is believed to have sprung from certain anime fandoms, though it has since broadened its scope and now plagues literary and film-based Canons alike.

When assigned a mission involving M-preg, an Agent can bring along an Embryo Extraction Kit, which can be acquired from the Department of Sufficiently Advanced Technology. Instructions are supplied with the kit. The general idea behind this particular bit of machinery is to safely and quickly transfer the foetus from its “mother” to a more biologically compatible individual (i.e. someone with a uterus).

It is noted, however, that often times such an individual cannot be found, and so there are two other options for dealing with the foetus:

  • An Agent can transfer the foetus temporarily to a jar and, upon returning to HQ, deliver the specimen to the Department of Mary-Sue Experiments.
  • Alternately, the option that seems by far the most popular among Agents is to contact Dr. Fitzgerald in Medical and have him remove the foetus from the body of its “mother” by remote and keep it in Medical, where it will be monitored and taken care of.

Once the foetus is safely removed (using whichever method you prefer) from the “mother,” it is advisable to proceed with the exorcism, which is covered more thoroughly in Chapter 7.

6. Why AU Can’t Get You out of Everything

When AU goes too far

There are certain sets of rules governing the existence of any character. These rules define the character and make them who they are. If too many rules are broken or ignored, then the character ceases to be that character and becomes someone else with that character’s name.

’Suethors are likely to slap an “AU” label on any fic in which the characters act extremely OOC. AU, or “Alternate Universe,” is really meant to be a setting for “What if?” fics more than anything else. “What if?” should, ideally, be centered on events, not characters. “What if this happened instead of that?” is the most plausible sort of AU.

An “AU” label neither covers nor excuses the complete and total alteration of characters in any continuum. In an AU, characters should still act according to their personalities as laid out by their creator, or as much as can be expected depending on the circumstances of the AU fic in question.

The exception to this is an AU directly involved with the personality of one character (to remain plausible, every AU should be based around a single change to the original continuum, preferably a small one). In these situations – if the writer specifically says, for example, “This story is AU because Legolas is clinically depressed” – the consequences of the change must be followed through in full. If Legolas has suicidal tendencies, how has he survived long enough to join the Fellowship? Did no one in Mirkwood notice that their prince was permanently unhappy? Would his father not have acted upon this? As can be seen, any AU involving Elves is likely to require several thousand words of backstory, either to explain the changes or to justify the lack of them (and no, “Thranduil hates his son” is not an explanation, it’s another change, and completely un-Elven at that. You’d need to rewrite everything from the First Age, if not before, to allow for abusive Elves being common). All changes to characters, in other words, must be justified or justifiable by reference to the original Canon.

Rapist!Legolas, for example, is right out in any universe. Elves do not commit rape. Even Aredhel, the closest case we have to a forced marriage, still wed her husband willingly. In Tolkienverse, sex = marriage, and Elves are completely monogamous – it’s not just a cultural thing, you understand, this is a deep-seated biological instinct – with one exception. Moreover, when an Elf is subjected to rape, the shock of it is so great that they will fade, dying essentially out of shame.

As to the exception stated above, the Statute of Finwe and Miriel is not an excuse to say “She’s dead, so he can go after another one.” Finwe was only permitted to marry again when it was clear that Miriel would never return to the world of the living. Such a thing required the permission of both Namo Mandos and Manwe Sulimo, as if Miriel and Finwe were ever both alive at the same time, they would be held to be married once more, and Finwe would be guilty of bigamy.

7. Removing the Author’s Influence over the Canons

Exorcizing the ’Sue spirit

When dealing with Bad Slash, the Agent is inevitably led to perform at least one “Author Exorcism.” One or both of the Canon males involved have usually been “possessed” by the Author – this is what is known as “Author Possession” or “’Sue Possession.” The former label reflects the fact that the “possessed” character would not be acting OOC unless influenced to do so by the Author of the fic. The latter is perhaps the more familiar of the two terms, as it indicates the Canon character’s unusually Mary-Sue-like tendencies when under the Author’s influence. In other words, the Author takes a perfectly good Canon character and turns him into a Mary-Sue. (Precisely why the female form of the name is used even when it is a male being possessed is unknown. Possibly it is due to the fact that most ’Sue-possessed characters act like hormonal teenage girls no matter what their age, gender, or species.)

’Sue-possessed characters typically display an astonishing amount of angst, tend to be passive-aggressive, have about as much personality as a stewed turnip, and pursue their Lust Object with the single-minded obsessiveness of actual Mary-Sues. The process of disposing of this ’Sue-ish influence is known as “exorcism,” and the procedure itself is quite similar to one that might be performed by a member of a church.

Table 7a: How to Perform an Exorcism
Following is the list of recommended items to use in the procedure:
  • Chalk
  • 6 or so candles
  • Tome of Canon (Hardbound copies are best, but paperbacks will do in a pinch)
  • DVD or VHS of Canon (for purely film-based continua)
  • Whisk (or similar implement, used to dispel the exorcised ’Sue-spirit)
  • Charge list.
Step 1:Draw a circle on a clear patch of ground with the chalk – Generic Surface works best, and can usually be found in abundance in most Bad Slash fics. Make sure to leave a gap in the circle for the Canon character to enter through.
Step 2:Place candles around circle as evenly as possible. Light them. Appearances are important.
Step 3:Herd/wheedle/goad/otherwise trick the ’Sue-possessed character into the middle of the circle.
Step 4:Once the affected character is within the confines of the circle, close the gap with the chalk. This completes the first stage of the ritual and prevents the character from escaping.
Step 5:Using your Tome of Canon, smack the possessed character smartly about the head and shoulders through the barrier, while intoning the following words:
Get thee behind me, ’Sue!
The literary works of [continuum’s creator’s name here, in uppercase] compel you!
I cast thee out!
It may be necessary to repeat the verse several times before it takes effect – the number of repetitions required depends on the strength of the ’Sue.
Step 6:Once the ’Sue-spirit has emerged, you may recite her charges.
Step 7:Once the charges have been recited, dispel the spirit using your whisk (or other similar implement).

Congratulations. You have successfully completed a ’Sue Exorcism.

Note: It has been proven that an exorcism can in fact be performed with nothing more than a single page or DVD cover of the Canon and any heavy item. The paper is shoved down the character’s throat, the chant intoned, and the heavy item waved rapidly through the ’Sue-spirit to dispel it. This method is not recommended, however, as it sometimes results in the choking of the exorcised Canon. Also, some ’Sues are not so simple to dispel.

8. Tying up Loose Ends

It’s not over ’til it’s over

Once all possessed characters have been set to rights, it is important to erase their memories. All field Agents are equipped with a neuralyzer for this purpose, but if you lack one and are assigned a mission containing Bad Slash, you can easily pick one up from Makes-Things or a DoSAT Agent.

To use a neuralyzer, simply adjust the settings to erase memories from the beginning of the fic onward, and press the button.

Please don’t forget to close your eyes before you do this, because you will need your memory intact and your faculties functioning when you fabricate a plausible alternative for the Canons to account for the large gap they will suddenly have in their memories. If you would rather use sunglasses to prevent accidental memory erasure, if they are canonical, that is also fine.

Once you have the Canon’s false memories firmly in place, your mission is complete and you may then return to HQ.