- Fiction in which the author self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or literariness of a work by parodying or departing from novelistic conventions (especially naturalism) and traditional narrative techniques.
Though there are several different definitions for the word metafiction, the basic idea is fiction that draws attention to itself, or a story that draws attention to the story. Some of the more blatant uses of metafiction might include, The Neverending Story, Inkheart, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. I listed them in that order, because I think The Neverending Story uses it the most, but the other two are good examples, too.
Other stories that use it less dramatically might include, The Muppets (how many times do they make reference to the movie you’re watching? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about), The Books of Elsewhere, The Princess Bride, and The Truman Show. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of other examples.
Metafiction usually breaks the fourth wall. Picture a stage with four walls. The play takes place in that arena, oblivious to the fact that it’s being watched. But if you break the fourth wall, so that the characters can see the audience gawking at it, suddenly the story and its characters have the capacity to interact with the audience. When it does so, that’s another major form of metafiction.
I hope my Metafictionals series approaches the subject in an entirely new way. The sad part is, it will be a few books into the series before the full metafictional experience is available. But believe me, it’s going to be a little different than stuff you’ve seen before. In the mean time, keep your eyes open. There are some cool things already underway.
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