Metafiction

Metafiction is a kind of fiction that self-consciously addresses the devices of fiction. It can be compared to presentational theatre in a sense--presentational theatre does not let the audience forget they are viewing a play, and metafiction does not let the readers forget they are reading a work of fiction. Metafiction is primarily associated with postmodern literature.

Some common metafictive devices:

  • A novel about a person writing a novel
  • A novel about a person reading a novel
  • A story that addresses the specific conventions of story, such as title, paragraphing, plots
  • A non-linear novel, which can be read in some order other than beginning to end
  • Narrative footnotes, which continue the story while commenting on it
  • A novel in which the author is a character
  • A story that anticipates the reader's reaction to the story
  • Characters who do things because those actions are what they would expect from characters in a story
  • Characters who express awareness that they are in a work of fiction

Some examples of metafiction:




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