You know the AnimatedActors concept, that your favourite cartoon characters have a life beyond the flickering cels? The '''Meta Fic''' is that concept applied to... well, everything.

In a Meta Fic, characters know they're fictional characters. They know their fictitious motivations, fictitious friends and fictitious enemies, but see no reason to be constrained by them. Hell, they might even have gotten ''killed off'', but it's not like they've died as an actor.

Meta Fic provides an opportunity to comment on FanFic itself (for instance, by having a character complain about the amount of {{Wangst}} writers saddle him or her with), or produce stories that are Just Too Silly even to be AltFic (for instance, the continuing saga, in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' fanfic community, of fairy tales being read to [[SpinoffBabies toddler versions of the characters]], and acted out, against their will, by the adult versions).

Not to be confused with MetaFiction or RecursiveFanfiction.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Frequently seen in the sillier or more surreal ''[[RanmaOneHalf Ranma 1/2]]'' fanfic of the late 1990s, especially those written as part of, or in the orbit of, the fanfic cycle known as "[[http://www.angelfire.com/anime2/superhighway/Bet/bet.html The Bet]]", where the characters were portrayed as being "hired" by fanfic writers to recreate the roles they created for Rumiko Takahashi, and were sometimes ''very'' different when "off-camera".
** Neither silly nor surreal, Deborah Goldsmith's excellent ''Ranma'' fanfic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7603977/1/Genmas-Daughter Genma's Daughter]]'' inspired its author to play with the same idea in her ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7606351/1/Genma-s-Daughter-The-Cutting-Room-Floor Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor]].''
** Metroanime's ''[[http://www.asynjor.com/fanfic/sharp.html Second Labor: Reluctant Bet]]'' includes numerous scenes of several of the ''Ranma 1/2'' characters having the opportunity to watch videotapes of ''other'' universes' versions of the ''Ranma'' anime -- which are all actually part of The Bet or its spinoffs, or other well-known ''Ranma'' FanFics from the late 1990s. (And after watching the "real" ''Ranma 1/2'' anime, they decide to do anything possible to keep their timeline from becoming a "{{canon}}" Ranmaverse.)
** Angus [=MacSpon's=] ''[[http://shell.ihug.co.nz/%7Emacspon/fanfic/ The Replacement Ranmas]]'' goes for ''very'' silly, as the cast of ''Ranma 1/2'' is missing on the first day of shooting for a new fic, and the "director" must scramble to replace them with characters from ''other'' anime series...
* Eyrie Productions Unlimited's ''[[http://www.eyrie-productions.com/NXE/ Neon Exodus Evangelion]]'' has "outtakes" and "Making of" sequences at the ends of some of its chapters. These feature, among other things, a very chirpy Rei Ayanami, and an interview with Sir Alistair Warden-Penn, the [[ClassicallyTrainedExtra classically-trained Shakespearean penguin]] who portrays Pen-pen.
* [[http://amethyst-angel.com/nadesico_main_tt.html Nadesico Thumbnail Theater's]] "Nagare Akatsuki's Guided Tour of [[MartianSuccessorNadesico Nadesico]] Fanfiction". NTT and its progenitor [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion Evangelion]] Thumbnail Theater sometimes lapse into this in their actual episode "summaries". As does Five Minute [[Series/StarTrekVoyager Voyager]], their live-action counterpart ([[http://www.fiveminute.net found here]]).
-->'''Gai:''' You said it! In hindsight, I'm glad they killed me off when they did.
* The ''Manga/SailorMoon Expanded'' fanverse has a series of stories which deal with the everyday lives of the various characters. They operate with the conceit that all of the characters, original and fan created, are actors on a vast movie set, with the various authors as the directors. This would lead to a number of instances where segments of "actual" stories would be transcribed, only to veer off track when a completely unrelated character wanders "on screen" with some actor-related grievance.
** Of particular hilariousness was an instance where the author of a long-running-but-never-quite-finished story was kidnapped by his own characters and locked in a room with a supply of [=MREs=], a chemical toilet, and a computer, there to remain until he finally finished the story. Though he was prematurely released by the impact of an asteroid soundstage belonging to a newly arriving author, the story was eventually completed.

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[[folder: Comic Book ]]

* ''ImAMarvelAndImADC'' has the characters referencing their own movies and writers, even after the series takes a more serious turn.
* It's apparently quite common for [[SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker Joker]] [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Fans]] to have the Joker starring in a Meta Fic where he meets up with the [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold many]] [[Film/{{Batman}} different]] [[{{DCAU}} versions]] [[Film/TheDarkKnight of]] [[WesternAnimation/TheBatman himself]], often with the objective of exploring certain traits about him (why ''does'' the guy keep coming BackFromTheDead?) or of simply exploring the different ways the character can be portrayed. Since the Joker regularly [[BreakingTheFourthWall breaks]] [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall and leans on]] the Fourth Wall all the time in canon, Meta Fic involving him can get rather complicated...

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[[folder: Fan Fiction ]]

* FanFic/BHF5 is super guilty of this, sometimes [[NoFourthWall referring to the very fourth wall they just broke (could we get a janitor in here?)]].
* ''FanFic/BringMeAllYourElderly'' is all about the animated characters of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' going into [[TheLastAirbender The Movie]] and correcting their live-action counterparts, all fully aware that they are in a fanfic (except Zuko). At one point, the characters read and discuss the comments section.
* Much bad fanfiction does this by accident, when characters will offhandedly reference their fictionality or something the author likes, for no apparent reason.
* In the {{crossover}} fic "[[FanFic/TheBankCalledYourRealityCheckBounced The Bank Called, Your Reality Check Bounced]]," the main cast of ''OuranHighSchoolHostClub'' gets dropped into the world of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist.'' Most of the characters are at least slightly distressed; however, Kyoya not only takes the whole thing in stride, he corrects some of Tamaki's mistaken notions by explaining that "We're not in an anime. We're in a ''fan fiction''." He also comments on the concepts of a PortmanteauCoupleName and {{shipping}}.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* Played straight and very dark by Creator/StephenKing in ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series. Roland and his ka-tet find themselves in a world that's realer than theirs, where time never runs backward, and which is critical to saving the multiverse--specifically, they have to make sure Creator/StephenKing lives to finish the series.
* The ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' novels have something like this (in-story) called the Bookworld. It's fiction, viewed from the inside. The one caveat is that when characters die or are changed outside of their narratives, it's permanent. For example, all the main characters of ''Literature/WutheringHeights'' are forced to attend group counseling meetings, including the ones that die in the course of the story. Yet one character is assigned a protection detail, because of all the people trying to kill him outside of the story, and if he died, the main narrative would fall apart.
* Clell65619's ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4070610/8/Thrilling_Tales_of_the_Downright_Unusual Harry Potter and the Read Through]]'' mixes this and AnimatedActors, as the cast of the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' novels critique the new fanfic script they've just been handed.

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* That ''Series/DoctorWho'' example up top? That comes from ''FanFic/ThisTimeRound'', the Doctor Who pub outside continuity, where the Who characters hang out between stories. More specifically, it comes from Look Who's Talking, the Doctor Who day care centre outside continuity...
** ''FanFic/ThisTimeRound'' was inspired by ''Subreality'', and the Subreality Cafe, where all the comics characters - and their fanfic variants - hung out.
* ''[[http://holmeschat.livejournal.com/1586.html The Theory of Narrative Casualty]]'' is essentially a ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' fic where the characters are LiveJournal users who are fans of SherlockHolmes. John Watson is a popular writer for the fandom, and Sherlock Holmes is a (in)famous fan artist. That has to be some kind of meta right there.

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[[folder: Tabletop Game ]]

* Much of the humor of the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' fanfic ''Fanfic/{{PRIMARCHS}}'' is derived from the characters constantly bitching about the poor job being done by the canon writers and getting into arguments with the author. Humor aside, this is metafic through and through. The most powerful weapon in the universe is the author's laptop, which can rewrite reality; the heroes must save their universe from the PlotHole which is slowly devouring it, and guest writers of canon ''Warhammer'' material occasionally make an appearance. And are [[RageAgainstTheAuthor then usually killed off]] as [[TakeThat punishment for the aforementioned bad writing]].

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The ''KingdomHearts'' fanfiction ''Fanfic/ThoseLackingSpines'', while ostensibly self-contained, mercilessly skewers the dark side of every aspect of fanfiction, including High School AlternateUniverse, {{yaoi}} fanfiction, the {{flanderization}} of all the "hot" characters (Xaldin, Vexen, and Lexaeus are the heroes of this fic because they are unaffected by TheVirus that turns their comrades into shadows of their former selves), poorly done crossovers, [[CrackFic random]] and {{wangst}} fanfiction, and {{Mary Sue}}s.
* ''How to Write a Sprite Comic in 8 Easy Bits'' takes all the old Nintendo game characters that nobody ever writes into web comics and casts them as out of work actors that happen to live in the same general area as the comic's author. Included in this nonsense are the blocks from ''VideoGame/{{Tetris}}'', Prince Myer from ''Deadly Towers'', and that chick from ''The Guardian Legend''.
* FanFic/{{BOTVGH}}

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[[folder: Webcomic ]]

* ''BooksDontWorkHere'' lives and breathes this trope even though it's an original. There is NoFourthWall and the characters are actors paid (not much mind you) to act out the plot of the comic. That's how it works in theory, at least - in practice, there is a lot of ad-libbing, backtalk, and complaining about the budget.
* ''CassToons'', a parody [[FanWebComics Fan Web Comic]] originally started as a response to the FaceHeelTurn of Cassandra Cain's ComicBook/{{Batgirl| 2000}}, is a Meta Fic of TheDCU and to a lesser extent the MarvelUniverse.
* The point of the {{Franchise/Buildingverse}} besides being a MegaCrossover (in this category because most entries are FanWebcomics) is that there is a world between stories where fictional characters go after (and between) stories and this is the story of the world. By the way FourthWall? What's that?

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[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'' features at least one long section of Meta Fic (the AnimatedActors eulogizing Tristan's Original Voice) in addition to its general disregard for the [[NoFourthWall Fourth Wall]].

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has MyLittleDashie, a [[TearJerker decidedly non-comedic]] example.
** And MyLittleStashie as a decidedly comedic example.
* FIM also has "Human" by Dannyj, which while indulging in HumansAreCthulhu and DarkerAndEdgier, involves a former animator using his knowledge of the show to take over Canterlot, and Celestia working to become a main character to defeat the villain, as families explode and motives are revealed.
* The Avatar fic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7300974/1/I-Love-Bad-Fanfiction I Love Bad Fanfiction]] is about the characters being aware they are in a fanfiction and being forced to act out bad fanfiction clitches at the "director's" (read author's) "bad fanfiction party". It's implied that all other fics from other fandoms are acted out as well by each fandoms respective characters (although the Literature/HarryPotter output is so large the characters have no choice but to use body doubles).
* In the short WildKratts fanfic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8448120/1/Oh-Crap-There-Are-Fanfics-Of-Us Oh Crap! There Are Fanfics Of Us]], the Kratt brothers and company discover the disturbing world of fanfiction and fanart. What makes the story real interesting is that the references are to actual fan works you can find, such as the [[{{OC}} Kitty]]/Martin fics on Fanfiction.net and [[IncestYayShipping Incest Yay]] art of the bros.

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