''Sometimes, "this is a true story" is part of the fiction.''

Once in a while a really well written story can feel so real that [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis you begin to wonder if it might not be based on a true story]]. Occasionally [[BasedOnATrueStory this is actually the case]], or [[BasedOnAGreatBigLie supposedly so]], but there are times when an author (etc) will go right out of their way to create greater immersion in their work by claiming that their very obviously fictional and fantastic world is in some way real. Usually they claim that they didn't come up with the story, rather it was recounted to them by the actual main characters (or some other witness), often physically, but sometimes by phone or magic. Other times they will claim that they found the account in the form of a diary and novelised it, or, if it is a film, that it comprises [[FoundFootageFilms Found Footage]] or a mixture of found footage and {{Dramatisation}}.

Another common method is to claim that the book was written as a testimony (or confession) to actual events - possibly the most notable example of this is ''Literature/TheGuildOfSpecialists'' trilogy, which takes the love that boys' annuals have for intricate diagrams and maps to its absolute extreme and fabricates not only a plethora of large diagrams, maps, and sketches, but ''photos and objects''. In this version the author pretends they are simply publishing something that someone else has written - this often takes the form of a novelization of a [[Literature/TheWesternMysteries diary or a set of notebooks]]. Other methods include [[Literature/SherlockHolmes accounts by secondary characters]] and so on. This trope a staple of children's books and fantastic tales, it often features an AuthorAvatar or even instances of FromBeyondTheFourthWall or other strangeness and may be said to be [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings translated from accounts of what happened or books written by the characters]] and never actually communicated in person.

In all these cases, however, it is considered canon that the author is repeating a story that is in fact true, if only to a certain degree. [[Literature/TheSagaOfDarrenShan One of the people the story is about may even be the author themselves]].

Compare AndThatLittleGirlWasMe, and BasedOnAGreatBigLie.

'''Absolutely ''not'' to be confused with LiteraryAgentHypothesis''', when fans think that maybe the story is actually real, or like to think it is, but don't have any support from canon or WordOfGod. Also not to be confused with ATrueStoryInMyUniverse, for InUniverse examples. Often ties in with AuthorAvatar and may involve an admitted UnreliableNarrator.

'''Note''': This trope only applies to ''canon and WordOfGod examples'' in fictional works. InUniverse examples go in ATrueStoryInMyUniverse. Pure {{Fanon}} examples go in LiteraryAgentHypothesis.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* An {{Omake}} for ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'' suggested that the entire series had been filmed and edited by Tomoyo, and included her attempt to film and record the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE-vw2UfF3I opening song.]]
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' doesn't reveal this until the second to last episode: [[spoiler:The narrator is George Saotome, the ogre always assisting Koenma, and with the new situation between the human and demon worlds, Koenma orders all of their video files to be documented. This explains the subtitles and narrations on ki attacks, and is foreshadowed by George and the narrator having the same voice actor. However, this is anime-only, as George doesn't exist in the manga.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* It's long been tradition at Creator/MarvelComics that they weren't making stories up, just reporting what really happened. (To the point that they once showed a writer and artist very concerned they hadn't heard from their characters they "covered", and were debating what to do for the next issue. They reacted with absolute horror at the suggestion they just "make something up".) However, this was directly averted in a letter column after the Death of Phoenix in ''ComicBook/XMen'', when the editor wrote about the many touching letters they received about how much the story meant to some of the fans. Some people even sent flowers. And then, they started getting ''death threats'' over the story. To which the editor said, "I know we joke we're just reporting what really happened, but it's just a comic book. It is brightly colored ink on cheap paper that will decay to dust in two hundred years. It is not worth threatening anyone's life."
** Creator/PeterDavid once related a story about how, at a convention, he was sitting at an autograph table and a boy and his mother walked by. "That's Peter David! He works in the comics", the kid says. His mother turns to David and asks, "You draw the comics?" "Actually, I'm a writer." She looks confused. "So what do you do in comics?", she asks. Before David can respond, the boy pipes up: "Oh, he writes down everything Spider-Man says and puts it in the comics."
* This concept was firmly woven into the foundation of the AlternateUniverse-laden pre-''ComicBook/{{Crisis on Infinite Earths}}'' version of Franchise/TheDCU. At least one hero took his name from a "fictional" predecessor who (as it turned out) lived in a parallel universe, and there was a world known as "Earth-Prime" which was an almost-exact replica of the "real" world (until just before the Crisis, when it got its own version of Superboy).
** In fact, writer Gardner Fox wrote stories in which the superheroes from other Earths would narrate their adventures to him and editor Julius Schwartz and sometimes ask for their help.
** Fox fan Creator/GrantMorrison paid a somewhat darker homage to these stories when he wrote himself into ''Comicbook/AnimalMan''.
** Following ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'', Earth-Prime was brought back as part of the multiverse as Earth-33. ''ComicBook/TheMultiversity Guidebook'' (written by Grant Morrison) notes, in its Earth-33 write-up, that "Monitor conjecture suggests that ideas created by ordinary human minds on Earth-Prime [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve become realities]] on other worlds of the Multiversal Orrery structure." Or, to put it another way, when the writers imagine new worlds in the DC multiverse, [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve those worlds become real]].
** The role-playing game supplement for the ''Comicbook/{{Legion Of Super-Heroes}}'' explains the {{Zeerust}} technology of early Legion stories by explaining that of ''course'' the early Legion had Omnicoms and flight-rings, they just couldn't show them in 1960s comics because they were so far beyond the readers' tech-level.
* Creator/AlanMoore claims to have met ComicBook/JohnConstantine of ''Comicbook/SwampThing'' and ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'' fame in real life, more than once. We must consider three very distinct possibilities. Either he met Sting (on whose appearance Constantine is based) in a trenchcoat, Alan Moore is out of his fucking mind, or he believes so much in certain things that they become real and his sanity forces him to forget lest he obliterate himself.
* ''Starlord'' had the Starlord, who had arrived on Earth to warn humanity about the evil [[TheEmpire Interstellar Federation]]. The comic was supposedly a stealth training manual so that humanity would be able to defend itself when they arrived. In the last issue before ''Starlord'' merged with ''2000 AD'', the Starlord said that humans had absorbed enough knowledge to scare off the Federation, and so he was going to depart Earth and leave his readers in the capable hands of Tharg.
* ''Tornado'' was supposedly edited by one of its characters, a superhero named The Big E, who was trained by Tharg as a super-editor.
* Creator/SteveGerber revealed in the last issue of ''ComicBook/ManThing'' that he was just retelling stories told to him by Dakimh the Enchanter.
* According to the introduction, Bill Willingham didn't write ''ComicBook/{{Ironwood}}''; he cheated Dragavon out of his story rights on Earth. The final scene of the series also adds a dose of UnreliableNarrator.
* After fifty-six years and thirty-six books, ''Asterix and the Missing Scroll'' reveals that ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'s adventures [[spoiler:were written down by Caesar in a lost chapter of his ''Literature/CommentariesOnTheGallicWar'', and passed down in Druidic oral traditions all the way down]] to Uderzo and Goscinny.

[[folder:Computer and Video Games]]
* Creator/{{Sierra}}:
** Peter Spear's hint books for the ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' and ''VideoGame/SpaceQuest'' series were written this way. The former around the idea that a journalist named Derek Karlavaegen had discovered ways to "e-mail" stories to Peter Spear, and the latter around the idea that Roger Wilco had written his memoirs and sent them back in time to Sierra, who turned them into the ''Space Quest'' games, and the raw memoirs were the novelizations that the book featured.
** In ''Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon'', Roger [[spoiler:delivers in-game versions of the creators of the ''Space Quest'' games to Sierra on Earth, with whom they presumably go on to make... the ''Space Quest'' games. So, even in the canon, Roger has met (and rescued!) his own literary agents.]]
** The copy protection of ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVIHeirTodayGoneTomorrow'' is also attributed to Derek Karlaveagen. It is basically a record of his travels in the Land of the Green Isles, including some clues to solve certain puzzles (they were impossible to solve without the booklet).
* The first four ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}'' titles, along with the tie-in novels, are supposedly based (Tolkien-style) on translations of the character Catherine's journals. This is taken even further with ''Uru'', the MMORPG, in which the D'ni cavern is portrayed as a real place - in New Mexico, of all places - being rediscovered by a team of expeditionary archaeologists funding their research by selling the rights to certain historical documents it uncovered to the game company Cyan, which used them as the basis for the ''Myst'' games.
* ''VideoGame/TheBeginnersGuide'' is narrated by its real-life creator Davey Wreden, who presents it as a compilation of games created by his friend Coda.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* The short stories in ''[[FanFic/YouGotHaruhiRolled You Got SasakiRolled!]]'' are allegedly written by three characters from [[LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya the original series.]] In a twist, the "literary agent" (that is, the author) is killed off at the very beginning and the story was supposedly uploaded to FanFictionDotNet by his ghost.
* According to ''Fanfic/{{Pokeumans}}'', anyone (including ''you'') could be a clone replacement of the person a transformed Pokeuman used to be. If the characters want their story known, albeit in the guise of fiction, they supposedly send the ideas to the clone by Psychic messaging so that even they think it's fictional. But there's no way of proving it isn't.

* Although ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBuckarooBanzaiAcrossThe8thDimension'' itself doesn't make a point of it, supporting materials claim that Buckaroo Banzai is a real person, whose adventures were related to author Earl Mac Rauch and then adapted into the movie. The DVD commentary runs with this premise, further claiming that some details have been withheld or altered for security reasons. It also imagines that merchandise related to the movie is in fact inspired by the hero himself, in an example of RecursiveCanon.
* CultClassic ''Jake Speed'' is built around the notion that pulp novel heros like [[Literature/TheExecutioner Mack Bolan]], Franchise/DocSavage, [[Literature/TheDestroyer Remo Williams]], and the eponymous Jake Speed are all real; it's the ''authors'' that are fictional. (They use the proceeds from the novels to fund their adventures.) The hero even has a ghostwriter for a sidekick.
* ''Film/TheBlairWitchProject'' billed itself as a [[{{mockumentary}} documentary]] that included [[FoundFootageFilms found footage]]. According to the movie poster:
-->In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary... A year later their footage was found.
* ''Film/BookOfShadowsBlairWitch2'' has a titlecard that explains that a group really did go on a killing spree after watching the first Blair Witch, and the first Blair Witch is treated as fiction. "Book of Shadows" is a dramatization of these events, and "Shadow of the Blair Witch" is the documentary of these events.
* In that same vein, the film ''Film/TheFourthKind'' was billed as a dramatization of very real events, and containing alleged footage from the supposed incident. There were two different actors playing the same role, with one purported to be the real person in staged interviews/found footage, etc. It was quickly discovered that this was merely a marketing ploy, and that the film was as factual as ''The Blair Witch Project''.
* The Czech movie ''Year of the Devil'' (''Rok dábla'') is purportedly a documentary about a group of well-known Czech musicians, all of whom appear in the movie as themselves. However, as the movie progresses, it starts to get more and more surreal, until it becomes obvious that a lot (if not all) of it is actually made up. So ''Year of the Devil'' is essentially a cinematic piece of fiction disguised as a documentary with real people playing fictionalized versions of themselves.
* Variation: Creator/PeterJackson invoked this for the production team of ''[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings Lord of the Rings]]'', saying something along the lines of "I don't want you to think of this as a fantasy movie. I want you to imagine it's a historical war movie, and we've been lucky enough to be able to shoot in the actual locations where these events took place." However, the finished films lack the FoundFootage elements usually present in films that try to invoke this trope with respect to the audience.
* ''Film/ThePrincessDiaries'' is a rather unusual variation, this film adaptation exists in the world of the [[Literature/ThePrincessDiaries book series]]. Mia claims to have liked the film, but notes that it's a somewhat whitewashed and idealized version of events. With much prettier people. Of course, given that Mia is in the midst of some hardcore [[EmoTeen teen angst]] at the time, it's entirely possible that the film is more true to her life than she realizes.
* ''Film/ThisIsSpinalTap'' combines this with {{Defictionalization}}, with the cast doing interviews, DVD commentaries, and concert tours in character, and then denying it when speaking as themselves.
-->''"Yes, Derek Smalls is a personal friend of mine. Yes, I've been known to pay his cartage fees. Yes, St. Hubbins has bummed stuff off me. So what?"'' - Harry Shearer
* In ''Incident at Loch Ness'', a faux-documentary by Zak Penn, starring Werner Herzog, the filmmakers claim to be shooting a documentary about the myth of the Loch Ness monster, but begin to encounter signs that it may not be a myth. Like Crichton's ''Eaters of the Dead,'' it is (or seems to be) a genuine documentary at the beginning of the film; where it crosses into fiction is debatable. The conceit of a genuine documentary is held on to the bitter end (the DVD even includes "commentary" by Zak Penn as he interviews a series of people and discusses the bad blood between himself and Herzog due to events in the film).
* ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'': Creator/GarethEdwards and the design team kept this trope in mind when designing Franchise/{{Godzilla}}:
-->'''Edwards:''' ''"The way I tried to view it was to imagine Godzilla was a real creature and someone from Creator/{{Toho}} saw him in the 1950s and ran back to the studio to make a movie about the creature and was trying their best to remember it and draw it. And in our film you get to see him for real."''

* This is the framing evice of ''Literature/ThePledge'', when the author attends a literature conference and stumbles across the protagonist's former senior Detective, who leads him to the protagonist himself (at that point of time an elderly, demented filling station attendant), and only then reveals to him who the protagonist was and why he ended up that way, thus setting the actual story in motion.
* Creator/PaulFeval used this often with ''Literature/TheBlackCoats'' and other stories. But it's most dramatically played out in ''Literature/VampireCity''.
* ''Literature/TheGuildOfSpecialists'' is the absolute grandmaster of this trope. The three books are absolute works of art, each designed to look like a diary and filled to the brim with maps, diagrams, sketches, some folding out to as much as four or five pages. There are antique photographs (purportedly) of the characters and settings and museum-style photographs of objects that appear in the books. It is truly something to behold and the level of immersion the books create is fantastic.
* Steve Hockensmith's mystery/Western ''Holmes on the Range'' (about a cowboy who is inspired to take up detective work after reading several Sherlock Holmes stories) doesn't just use the LiteraryAgentHypothesis but starts off being Direct Line to the Author as well. The story itself uses the original literary agent hypothesis -- it sets out Holmes as a real person, one of the villains is related to a character from the Holmes story "The Noble Bachelor", and [[spoiler:it's eventually revealed that the book is set two years after "The Final Problem"]].
* In ''Literature/ChroniclesOfNarnia'' it is a little-known piece of canon that Creator/CSLewis is recounting the tales as told to him by an unknown individual or individuals, likely one or more of the Pevensie children. This is made explicit in ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'': "Lucy could only say, 'It would break your heart.' 'Why,' said I, 'was it so sad?' 'Sad!! No,' said Lucy." However, how he could have been told of the events of ''Literature/TheLastBattle'', [[spoiler:since most of the series' human protagonists had, unbeknownst to them, died in a train wreck and gone to Aslan's country]], is unknown but could be explained by him being an UndeadAuthor, though given the Wood Between the Worlds from ''Literature/TheMagiciansNephew'' just about anything is possible. This trope is the reason why the narrator of the books often confesses ignorance as to things that the children themselves do not know. One reason he does this is that The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe came about when three children, Margaret, Mary and Katherine, were evacuated from London and sent to live with him during the war (yes, [[AuthorAvatar the professor is Lewis]]). The four children of the book [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chronicles_of_Narnia#Background_and_conception are inspired by them]].
** Speaking of ''The Magicians Nephew'', the book mentions that "Mr. Literature/SherlockHolmes was still living in Baker Street," which is either an IntercontinuityCrossover or a Shout-Out from one Literary Agent to another.
* The first two-thirds of Creator/CSLewis's [[Literature/TheSpaceTrilogy Space Trilogy]], aka the Ransom novels, are based on the premise that Lewis is the ghostwriter for the "real" Doctor Ransom, whose name has been changed but whose bizarre interplanetary adventures are true. (In real RealLife, Ransom was [[WriteWhoYouKnow based on Lewis's good friend]] Creator/JRRTolkien.) ''Out of the Silent Planet'' even ends with a chapter explaining how the Lewis came to learn of the story from Ransom, and why they decided to publish the story in the guise of fiction: to avoid reprisals from the RealLife counterparts of the villains, and because the events were simply too outrageous to be believed if they were published as nonfiction. This is then followed by a letter from Ransom [[SelfDeprecation pointing out all the details of the adventure that Lewis got wrong]] or were simply too esoteric to convey in writing. The next novel, ''Perelandra'' continues with the Agent Hypothesis in the text, but includes a preface stating that all the human characters are fictitious and non-allegorical. The final novel, ''That Hideous Strength'', drops all pretense, and in fact events in the book flatly contradict actual then-current political history.
* Creator/CSLewis also claims he stumbled upon ''Literature/TheScrewtapeLetters'' in a foreword in the book; given that they are letters from a [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demon]] to his apprentice, this one is forgivable. Lewis himself gives it only the briefest (and funniest) of {{Hand Wave}}s, asking the reader not to delve too deeply into how he acquired them.
* Creator/JRRTolkien implied this with ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' and related works, supposedly "translations" of works by the characters themselves. The hypothesis in this case is that (as mentioned in-story) Bilbo's diary and Frodo's account of his adventures (with a few additions by Merry and Pippin here and there, finished by Sam) were compiled together into a volume called the "Red Book of Westmarch", which was copied into an edition called "The Thain's Book", to which someone added a few volumes of "Translations from the Elvish" by Bilbo. This was copied in turn by one "Findegil, the King's Writer" -- the date this copy was made is the last dated event in the book, so we can presume Tolkien "discovered and translated" this copy. [[labelnote:More description under here for the ''serious'' nerds.]] In ''Literature/TheBookOfLostTales'', the earliest version of ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', the stories are told via a framing device of elves telling them to an Anglo-Saxon mariner who stumbled upon the Elvish island Tol Eressëa, who then writes them down and takes them back to England. His book is found long afterwards in the ruins of an old house, and ends up with Tolkien who, being a Professor of Old English, translates it. The two are possibly not incompatible hypotheses -- if the "Anglo-Saxon mariner" framing story hadn't been discarded very early on, it would have been easy enough to have the stories from the Red Book (''The Lord of the Rings'') being told to him in addition to the Translations from the Elvish (''The Silmarillion'') stead, explaining how Tolkien could translate them.[[/labelnote]]
* Creator/EEDocSmith in the ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' series refers to himself as "the historian" in later books, and mentions that he was the first person to read the declassified accounts of the characters' adventures.
* The author of ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'', "Lemony Snicket" (actually Daniel Handler) not only finds it his duty to research these "tales of misery and woe," but is also apparently related to two secondary characters. Handler himself claims to be the agent for Lemony Snicket.
** While not actually stated in the text, it's very likely that the cigarette-smoking man who appears briefly in ''The Penultimate Peril'' is Snicket.
* Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs:
** Burroughs presents himself as the great-nephew and literary executor of Literature/JohnCarterOfMars in the ''Barsoom'' novels. At the beginning of each book it tells how Carter visited Burroughs and gave him ''this'' story (and then disappeared again). In ''The Master Mind of Mars'', we are told that Ulysses Paxton has read the earlier works and so recognizes Barsoom when he reaches it.
*** The [[Film/JohnCarter film]] makes it more blatant by having Burroughs rush to his uncle's tomb and, upon opening it, discover it empty. A Thern appears behind him about to kill Burroughs and Carter only to be shot by Carter who shows up behind the Thern. Carter tells Burroughs to write a book, locks himself in the tomb and once again projects to Barsoom using the Thern's talisman.
** Burroughs's first Literature/{{Tarzan}} novel, similarly, begins with an explicit statement that Burroughs was told the story by one who was there, and that the names have been changed to protect the etc. When the Tarzan series took off, this aspect of the story proved impossible to keep up, and was quietly dropped; however, fans still make use of it when discussing what Tarzan's life was "really" like. This was paid homage to in the series based on the Disney animated adaptation, where he writes the book after meeting Tarzan.
** Burroughs did the same thing for his ''Literature/{{Amtor}}'' novels, where he is visited psychically by the protagonist, Carson Napier of Venus [[MisappliedPhlebotinum (who oddly enough, rarely uses his psychic powers for anything other than giving Burroughs infodumps)]].
** Burroughs did this yet again for his ''Literature/{{Pellucidar}}'' novels. In the first one he meets David Innes, the hero during a safari in the Sahara desert, after Innes has come up from Pellucidar. In the second one he receives a telegraph message from a line Innes laid all the way the the Earth's core. In all the others (and in some of the ''Barsoom'' novels) his next door neighbor is an inventor who develops a neutrino radio that can send signals through solid rock to communicate with Pellucidar.
* Some later publications of ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' add a "[[EoinColfer this man]] is not my biographer" preword from Artemis... despite the epilogue already presenting the book as an LEP psych report.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', it's heavily alluded to that Bram Stoker wrote ''{{Dracula}}'' on a commission from rival supernatural factions to educate people on the nature and weaknesses of Black Court vampires. The result is that the Black Court is nearly extinct in the present day. And, in one of the recent "extra" stories, it's pointed out that the ''Necronomicon'' was actually a Grimoire of great power -- until the White Council found it and published it all over the place, and by making it available to every minor mage and wannabe in existence, effectively nullified the power by spreading the effect over the entire world.
** In an interview with the author, a fan asked whether H. P. Lovecraft was onto something in the same way. The answer - yes. OhCrap.
** The rulebooks for [[TabletopGame/TheDresdenFiles the tabletop RPG]] are presented as Billy's attempt to recreate Stoker's success by publishing an all-purpose guide to the supernatural in the ''guise'' of a tabletop role-playing game. It's an early draft, so it also has commentary from Harry and Bob scribbled in the margins (much of it telling him to cut top-secret information that Harry doesn't want getting out).
* In the ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' series, the novels are written down by Clio, the Muse of History; apparently someone's been leaking them to Mundania. One Author's Note actually includes a character doing her service to the Good Magician by going through the pun credits.
* N.E. Bode claims throughout "the nobodies" and "the somebodies" that Fern Bone, the main character, sat down next to him/her on the subway and told her story (the Anybodies) to the then out of luck writer.
* While the books themselves do not invoke Direct Line to the Author, Garth Nix [[http://www.scholastic.com/titles/seventhtower/qa.htm has said]] regarding ''Literature/TheSeventhTower'', "Often, I get the feeling that the story is really happening somewhere and all I'm doing is trying to work out the best way to tell it."
* Creator/LFrankBaum styled himself the "Royal Historian of Oz", all the stories came from Dorothy telling them to him (eventually through a magic wireless after Dorothy moved to Oz permanently). He also made an attempt to use this trope to ''end'' the [[Literature/LandOfOz Oz series]] at one point, claiming a spell of Glinda's to detach Oz completely from the outside world meant he was no longer in contact with Dorothy. It didn't stick any better than Literature/SherlockHolmes' trip over Reichenbach Falls, of course.
* ''Literature/TheSagaOfDarrenShan'': it is canon in Creator/DarrenShan's books that he assembled his stories from [[spoiler:diaries sent to him by his younger alternate self in an aborted timeline where]] he became a vampire. It [[MakesSenseInContext makes more sense in context]]....kinda. Esentially, [[spoiler:Darren altered the timeline so the events of the series didn't happen, thus resetting himself to how he was at the beginning of the first book. Somehow his diaries chronicling the series survived and were sent to the new Darren, who is an author...]] Thus the books actually happened. [[spoiler:In another timestream]].
* The 10th-century ''Literature/TheTaleOfGenji'' includes a number of references indicating that the narrator is relating a true story and that she is merely describing this story to others. For example, at the end of chapter 4:
-->''I had passed over Genji's trials and tribulations in silence, out of respect for his determined efforts to conceal them, and I have written of them now only because certain lords and ladies criticized my story for resembling fiction, wishing to know why even those who knew Genji best should have thought him perfect, just because he was an Emperor's son. No doubt I must now beg everyone's indulgence for my effrontery in painting so wicked a portrait of him''.
** She also uses that conceit, from time to time, to poke fun at literary clichés of her time, by saying things to the effect of "If this were a common story, [[LampshadeHanging I would describe such-and-such]]" or "If the old stories were to believed, she should've acted in such-and-such a way".
* Practically all novels at the beginning of the genre (roughly the 18th Century) used this device, claiming to be either memoirs/autobiographies or caches of letters, i.e. epistolary novels. It was not until Henry Fielding that the third-person omniscient narrator was introduced. Examples:
** Everything by Creator/DanielDefoe,
** Samuel Richardson's ''Pamela'' and ''Clarissa'',
** Jonathan Swift's ''Literature/GulliversTravels''
** Lawrence Sterne's ''Literature/TristramShandy'' -- which is also the longest sustained attempt at subverting the trope.
** ''Die Insel Felsenburg'', a {{Robinsonade}} by Johann Gottfried Schnabel.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov:
** The mystery novel ''Murder at the ABA'' takes the form of Asimov's dramatization of events as related to him by fictional character Darius Just (who bears a noticeable resemblance to real-world author Creator/HarlanEllison). Asimov includes himself as a minor character in the story, and the book includes occasional [[FootnoteFever footnote comments]] by Just and responses by Asimov.
** Asimov also uses the device in the short story "Pâté de Foie Gras". The titular goose literally lays gold-filled eggs, and a group of government experts is trying to figure out where the gold is coming from (or at least figure out how to breed additional gold-egg-laying geese so that some can be spared for dissection). The story ends with one of the experts convincing the others to get the account published in an SF magazine as fiction, thus putting it before a large number of people who might come up with useful ideas while [[CassandraGambit still maintaining plausible deniability]].
* Steven Brust's ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'' novels occasionally place Brust as the translator of the stories from Dragaeran into English. He even has an interview with Paarfi, the "original author" of the Literature/KhaavrenRomances, who is outraged by the changes that Brust admits he had to make. In one of the Vlad Taltos novels, Vlad mentions in one story that he's narrating his stories into a cylinder in return for gold. ''Literature/{{Tiassa}}'' clarifies that a man from "very far East" (presumably Brust) met Vlad through Sethra Lavode, who met him through the Necromancer, and offered 500 Imperials of unminted gold for a few hours of conversation.
* ''Literature/DonQuixote'': Cervantes parodies the trope. It was used by a lot of [[WeirdAlEffect (today forgotten)]] authors of chivalry books who claimed that their story was based in an old manuscript found in an ancient pyramid or another ruined building in some faraway country, written in an exotic language by a wise, famed wizard who favoured the hero of the novel. Those claims are made to feign that the chivalry book was InspiredBy real events. Cervantes twists this and uses it to comic effect, explaining that the next part of the novel was found in some pamphlets and papers (only a few years old) found in Alcana de Toledo (a real city in Spain) in a silk mercer store, written in Arabic (a fair known language in Spain) by a (foolish) boy who didn't know what was written and so sold the papers to Cervantes for peanuts. If we include the funny name of the wizard and the fact that the [[UnreliableNarrator second author, the translator and Cide Hamete Benengeli are always making comments about the book]], we can see that Cervantes wants us to admit that all this tale is a long sequence of lies and nonsense... just like all the chivalry books.
* Chaucer combines this trope with AuthorAvatar in ''Literature/TheCanterburyTales'', which is presented as Chaucer's transcription of all the tales the other people on his pilgrimage are telling, and he throws in a couple of his own.
* In Creator/SpiderRobinson's ''Literature/CallahansCrosstimeSaloon'' series, Spider claims to be transcribing stories told to him by the narrator, Jake Stonebender. He even goes as far as writing Author's Notes and Prefaces "in character" as a Callahan's regular.
* This sort of thing is pretty much a law when it comes to ''Franchise/SherlockHolmes'' pastiches, given the fandom's emphasis on the LiteraryAgentHypothesis. Traditionally, all pastiches must begin with an introduction explaining how this "lost manuscript of Dr. Watson" was discovered in an old trunk or attic and can now finally be released to the public. (The original Literature/SherlockHolmes stories had references to Watson publishing accounts of his adventures, but never went so far as to claim that he was doing so through Arthur Conan Doyle; they always implied if not actually stated that in-universe Watson's accounts were published under his own name.)
* The ''Literature/MaryRussell'' books by Laurie R. King, in which Sherlock Holmes is a major character, contain numerous prefaces and afterwords detailing the mysterious means by which King received the manuscripts which she's been editing into the books; the narratives themselves also have occasional references to Creator/ArthurConanDoyle as Watson's agent, including Holmes's chagrin when Conan Doyle goes public with a belief in fairies.
* Creator/AlexandreDumas claimed to have found and elaborated upon records of ''Literature/TheThreeMusketeers''.
* The earliest writings about Middle-Earth, ''Literature/TheBookOfLostTales I and II'', [[TwistEnding reveal for the first time that the entire story of Middle-Earth]] is an uncovered Anglo-Saxon chronicle transcribed by [=Æ=]lfwine the Anglo-Saxon when he accidentally voyaged to Elvenhome (where Bilbo and Frodo went at the end of the story), discovered the "original writings", and brought them back to Europe. The island of Tol Eressëa (Elvenhome), which was ferried back and forth across the sea several times by the Valar in Silmarillion, turns out to be England, and Elvenhome turns out to be Warwick!
* George [=MacDonald=] Fraser's Literature/{{Flashman}} series blurs a number of lines. The title character is lifted from a Victorian novel (along with at least two supporting characters), and occasional supporting characters are lifted from other works of fiction (notably Colonel Sebastian Jack Moran and Literature/SherlockHolmes himself), but most characters are from actual recorded history (minor characters are often invented by Fraser). Despite Flashman's life story being preposterous, it weaves fairly seamlessly into the myriad real events he becomes involved with, lending credence to Fraser's claim to be the agent for one Paget Morrison, who inherited Flashman's memoirs. Among copious footnotes by the "editor", a few point out that Flashman's memory must be mistaken, as it's known from other sources that (e.g.) X died before Y reached India.... The conceit worked well enough that (according to a 1969 article in Time magazine), at least 10 American reviewers of the first novel thought it was an actual autobiography.
* The ''Chronicles of Literature/{{Gor}}'' started this way, with the first books told in the first person of the main character, Tarl Cabot. An afterword explained that the "author", John Norman, had known Cabot, spoken with him, and then one day found the manuscript mysteriously left in his apartment.
* There is a... let's call it ''elaborate''... prologue to ''Literature/TheScarletLetter'' in which Nathaniel Hawthorne explains that he did not write the story of Hester Prynne; he only found it.
* Creator/WalterMoers uses this for most of his ''Zamonia'' novels. ''Literature/TheThirteenAndAHalfLivesOfCaptainBluebear'' and ''Literature/TheCityOfDreamingBooks'' are supposedly translations of autobiographies of the narrators. The setup of ''Literature/TheAlchemastersApprentice'' is a bit more complicated: Walter Moers supposedly translated a book written by Hildegunst von Mythenmetz, which is a retelling of a story by Gofid Letterkerl. Actually it's a retelling of ''Spiegel, das Kätzchen'' by Gottfried Keller. (Mythenmetz and Letterkerl are fictional authors, Moers and Keller are/were real people; Letterkerl's name is, in fact, [[SignificantAnagram an anagram]] of Keller's.)
* The introduction to ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'' frames it as a letter from a sea captain to his sister after he briefly picked up the title character ([[IAmNotShazam and no, that's not the monster]]) in the Arctic and copied his story down. Making this even more complicated is the fact that Frankenstein quotes ''the monster'' for several chapters, and the monster also tells a story within a story within a story about the family he first sheltered with.
* Creator/StephenKing:
** Late in ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series, the heroes arrive in 1977 Maine, meet with Creator/StephenKing, and instruct him to write and publish an account of their exploits. In this case, the trope is also used to explain why Eddie Dean grew up in Queens when his home, in Co-Op City, is located in the Bronx; on his Earth, Co-Op City is located in Queens, but it's located in the Bronx in "the real world" and so King was accurately describing the lay of the land in the quasi-fictional New York from which Dean hails. (Eddie initially loses his temper; he believes he grew up in the wrong borough because King made a mistake.)
** More than that, King attempts to use the ''Dark Tower'' series to tie together ''all'' his books under the "existing [[TheMultiverse Multiverse]] channeled by Author's imagination" theory, giving a whole new meaning to AuthorExistenceFailure. We also know this as CanonWelding.
** Creator/StephenKing also does this with some of the more recent books written under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. In the forewords to those, Creator/StephenKing claims that the books were unfinished manuscripts by the late Bachman that he had been asked to polish and update for release after Bachman died of "cancer of the pseudonym". (Making him a Literary Agent for himself, oddly enough.)
* Author Creator/MichaelCrichton has done this with several of his books:
** In the original book version of ''Literature/JurassicPark'', one of the many differences from the film adaptation was the death of Ian Malcolm. In the sequel novel, Malcolm explains that his death was just a rumour, leading the reader to believe that the original novel was merely an imperfect retelling of the actual events. (The original novel was also prefaced by "The [=InGen=] Incident", a historical-nonfiction-style bit about the problems the events' books caused.)
** ''Literature/TheAndromedaStrain'' is presented as a docudrama-style recounting of actual events, complete with a bibliography listing relevant scientific papers (most of the citations are real, but some are fakes supposedly authored by characters from the book).
** Crichton also did it with ''[[Literature/TheThirteenthWarrior Eaters of the Dead]]''. Aside from the footnotes scattered through the book (again a mix of real and fake information), the beginning is an ''actual historical document'', written by the real Ahmad ibn Fadlan, up to the point where he heads off with the Vikings to battle the Wendol. The novel is portrayed as a translation of ibn Fadlan's writing that extended past the point where the real ibn Fadlan stopped (even having the end of the novel terminate just as another adventure seemed to start, indicating there was more yet to happen but the manuscript had been lost). Crichton commented at one point, a few years after writing it, that he had forgotten where the fictional part of the novel actually started.
** ''Literature/RisingSun'' is apparently the narrator, a detective, telling a story in an LAPD interview room.
* Denise Mina's novel ''Sanctuary'' (released as ''Deception'' in the US) is a crime novel told in diary format. The book features an introduction from Mina in which she claims she found the diary on a second-hand PC and subsequently won a court ruling that allowed her to publish the diary -- much to the original author's objections -- under her own name. An afterword further muddies the water by suggesting that some of the events described in the book did not happen in "real life", being exaggerations on the part of the original author.
* ''Literature/ThePrincessBride'' is introduced as a story edited down from a "famous" piece of literature written by S. Morgenstern, a fictional resident of the fictional country of Florin. The real author, Creator/WilliamGoldman, claims that this is the Good Parts Version his father (an immigrant from Florin) read to him as a child. There are frequent "editor's notes" which summarize the excised text (these summaries can run for pages being nothing but lists of how many pages were spent on the various mundanities of, say, Buttercup packing so she could move (three whole pages on her blouses, was the guy nuts?), or the things Buttercup was taught so she could be a royal, in order to impress upon us how very grateful we are to Mr. Goldman for editing the book). At one point Goldman claims he wrote an additional scene which the publisher refused to include and gives an address one may write to in order to obtain it. Letters sent to that address are responded to with an explanation that someone acting on the original author's behalf is still blocking publication of the additional scene. Later editions blurred the line further, with an afterword of Goldman recounting a meeting he had with Creator/StephenKing while he was writing the (real) screenplay for ''Misery''. He portrays King as a big fan of the original book who was outraged at some of the changes Goldman made. King is also alleged to be doing the abridgment of the long lost sequel ''Buttercup's Baby''. One of the later editions goes even further, revealing that the deal with Creator/StephenKing fell through, so Goldman is doing ''Buttercup's Baby''... and he includes the first bits of it, resolving the cliffhanger ending of the original book.
* Umberto Eco engages in LampshadeHanging in ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose'', initially claiming that the work is an adaptation of a translation of an account by the novel's protagonist, ostensibly written well after the events occurred, but then proceeding to criticize the accuracy of the account, both directly in the foreword and implicitly in the epilogue. He does the same in ''The Prague Cemetery''.
* Mark Z. Danielewski's ''Literature/HouseOfLeaves'' is entirely based around the idea that the reader is reading a manuscript found by the editor -- who tells his own story in footnotes, including events that reference the effect of the book on the real world and an encounter with the author's sister's band, Poe, who released an album "Haunted" from the point of view of one of the characters of the story. There are further layers to this metaphysical tale, and it includes and subverts any number of science fiction, horror and fiction tropes. There's also the author of the manuscript's claim that not only is ''The Navidson Record'' real, despite the editor's insistence that no such documentary exists, but also that the characters are real people and that Karen was the one who arranged for the tapes to be compiled. And then, in the last appendix of the book, [[spoiler:there are pictures that imply that Zampano might be right and ''The Navidson Record'' might actually be real]].
* James Howe's ''Literature/{{Bunnicula}}'' series claims in the prologues that Howe is simply the literary agent for a ''dog'', the Dr. Watson to a cat who fancies himself a paranormal investigator ''par excellence''.
* ''Literature/IClaudius'' by Robert Graves. The entire premise of the story is that the Roman Emperor Claudius wrote a memoir giving all the inside dirt on the Imperial Family and that Mr. Graves actually did discover these secret papers, "Nineteen hundred years or near" later.
* Elizabeth Peters' ''AmeliaPeabody'' novels are framed as being excerpts from the rather extensive and detailed journals Mrs. Emerson kept over many decades, starting approximately with her initial trip to Egypt in the 1880s, during which she met the man who would become her husband. Later volumes also include excerpts from "Manuscript H", written by Amelia's son Ramses. Elizabeth Peters takes on the role of the editor of these journals in the author's notes, which allows some extensive LampshadeHanging : she often expresses exasperation at the inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the text, such as the signs that the journals were rewritten many years later with an eye towards publication ("Little did I know..."), and Amelia's tendency to put her own opinions in the mouths of her famous contemporaries.
* The ''{{Literature/Dinotopia}}'' books are prefaced with James Gurney's claim that they are merely reproductions of real journals that he's found, rather than being fiction. The second book has Arthur Denison's journal - implied to be the same as the previous book - being lost at sea and the story continues from this point regardless, but this book is a stylistic change, lacking a note from Gurney and being in third person. ''Journey to Chandra'' returns to this trope.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'': The opening chapter of every book invokes this trope, and every now and then it also comes into the body of the story as well. There are a number of issues with the implementation, such as characters [[spoiler:narrating right up to their deaths]], and the fact that even though they [[NoNameGiven refuse to give their real name or hometown]] in case their enemies read the books, they still give away plenty of other information their enemies would find useful -- which this is not the place to discuss in detail. The use of the second person in opening narration is primarily just a way to put the reader in the fearful background.
* The ''Literature/BooksOfPellinor'' are supposedly translations of a saga from the land of Edil-Amarandh.
* Creator/StephenBaxter's ''The Time Ships'', a sequel to Creator/HGWells's ''The Time Machine'', is supposedly based on a journal that mysteriously turned up in an old bookstore. The book also implies that the Time Traveller told his story to H. G. Wells who then created a fictionalised version.
* In the ''Literature/JamesBond'' novel ''Literature/YouOnlyLiveTwice'', when [[spoiler:Bond is believed dead]], his [[spoiler:obituary]] mentions that there is a book series being written about his adventures. It also mentions that if the books were any closer to the truth, they'd prosecute the author, [[Creator/IanFleming an old friend of Bond's]], under the Official Secrets Act. And in the book version of ''Literature/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'', the author says the main female gave her account of the events to him. John Pearson's "authorised biography" of Bond runs with the idea, explaining that the Bond novels were a disinformation campaign intended to keep the opposition guessing about whether Bond really existed (In a bit of ironic CanonDiscontinuity, it asserts that ''The Spy Who Loved Me'' is the one novel that's completely made up). Of course, Commander Fleming really was up to his neck in skullduggery of all sorts and it is possible that he did include one or two interesting snippets from his own adventures....
* John [=DeChancie=]'s ''Literature/CastlePerilous'' books are purported to be true adventures (except ''Castle Dreams'') written down by Osmirik, Court Scribe and Royal Librarian to Lord Incarnadine, and are so 'introduced' by him at the beginning of each entry into the series (after they've been smuggled through the portal, or Aspect, to our world). Later it is revealed that Lord Incarnadine himself takes on the identity of a writer here on Earth, passing off Osmirik's accounts as his own fantasy works (presumably under the pseudonym of [=DeChancie=] himself!). This self-mockery reaches its height in ''Castle Dreams'' when 'Osmirik' claims never to have seen the earlier novels, let alone written them or their prefaces, and engages in a long and lively debate about alternate realities, how the magic of the castle could have spontaneously produced such works, and the literary merit (or lack thereof) of such [[TakeThatMe "cheap trash" with "terrible cover art."]] It even enters MindScrew territory when he not only denounces the [[FootnoteFever footnotes]] which appear throughout the book, but claims ''in a second preface'' that the first one appeared in the book [[Film/{{Spaceballs}} before he had even written it]].
* The novels in Creator/MichaelMoorcock's ''Nomad of the Time Streams'' sequence are presented in this fashion; all three are presented as being accounts / letters written by the protagonist, Oswald Bastable, to Moorcock's grandfather (also named Michael Moorcock); the first two were delivered personally to Moorcock's grandfather, but the last was delivered to Moorcock himself, as his grandfather had passed away by the time the time-and-reality-swapping messenger managed to deliver it to him.
* ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' takes this to its logical extreme: every single book ever written is based on events in the alternate universe Bookworld, with the ideas telepathically sent to the minds of the author.
* ''Literature/TheSpiderwickChronicles'' and the companion Field Guide are claimed by Holly Black and Tony [=DiTerlizzi=] to be actual events, with the Graces having written to them and told their story. The Field Guide itself was apparently sent to them as well, with [=DiTerlizzi=] taking on the task of restoring Arthur Spiderwick's creature paintings within. The sequel trilogy, ''Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles'' goes further with the protagonists having actually read the books and Field Guide, meeting up with the authors at a book signing for help in dealing with a problem with Giants as well as actually meeting Jared, who explains that their last names were changed in the books for privacy's sake.
* As of ''Literature/TheTalesOfBeedleTheBard'' the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series has this. It's kind of weird to see Rowling write footnotes to Dumbledore's commentary of Beedle's tales, which were translated by Hermione. The foreword by Rowling references ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows The Deathly Hallows]]'' from the "seventh book of the biography of Harry Potter".
** The "School Books" had a twist on this. ''Literature/FantasticBeastsAndWhereToFindThem'' and ''Literature/QuidditchThroughTheAges'' assert that the wizarding world is real, and these books are magically copied (with a foreword added by Dumbledore) from real books from Hogwarts. Complete with graffiti written in the margins by Harry and his friends, no less.
* ''The Pushcart War'' did this, except that at the time of publication the dates given in the book were in the ''future''. At least one reader read the book as a kid and didn't realize it was fiction because by that time the dates in her copy were fifteen or twenty years in the past.
* The classic but criminally under appreciated Sword & Planet novel ''Transit to Scorpio'' was written by Kenneth Bulmer, but published under the name Alan Burt Akers. Within the books, "Akers" presents himself as the literary agent of English naval officer Dray Prescott, who is lost on the distant world of Antarres. Aker receives manuscripts regularly from Prescott, who gets booted back to Earth by the "Star Lords" whenever they get bored with jerking him around. The series expanded to 45 books (54 if you count the titles only published in German) making up 11 "cycles", and by the third or fourth book the by-line on the covers actually read "As Told to Alan Burt Akers by Dray Prescott." Kenneth Bulmer's name never appears on any of the books.
* ''Literature/LifeOfPi'' by Yann Martel is supposedly a novelization of true events; the prologue features Martel himself in India, meeting the character Mamaji who, in turn, tells him about the main character, Pi. The first section of the novel is the story of Pi's childhood, interlaced with scenes of Martel supposedly meeting and interviewing Pi as an adult. (The rest is about a shipwreck, a tiger and some Japanese guys.)
* The ''Virgil Tibbs'' series by John Ball (which began with ''In the Heat of the Night'') has a protagonist with a Direct Line to the Author. In ''The Great Detectives'', edited by Otto Penzler, various creators of detective series contributed short articles on their creations (e.g. Chester Gould on Dick Tracy, Walter Gibson on the Shadow, etc.); John Ball used this trope for his article on Virgil Tibbs. He writes:
-->Ms. Diane Stone, secretary to Chief Robert [=McGowan=] of the Pasadena Police Department, was on the phone. "The chief has approved the release to you of the details concerning the Morales murder," she told me. He has authorized you to go ahead with it at any time, if you want to." Of course I wanted to: the unraveling of the case via the patient, intelligent investigation work of the department in general, and Virgil Tibbs in particular, would need no embellishment in the telling. As I always do in such instances, I called Virgil and suggested a meeting. Two nights later we sat down to dine together in one of Pasadena's very fine restaurants.... By the time that the main course had been put down in front of us we had gone over the Morales case in detail and Virgil had filled me in on several points which had not previously been made public. As always, I agreed to publish nothing until the department had read the manuscript and had given it an official approval. This procedure helped to eliminate possible errors and also made sure that I had not unintentionally included information which was still confidential.
* Robert Littell used this trope for ''The Amateur'', published in 1980. He notes in a prologue that Charlie Heller (the main protagonist of the novel) met with him to have the novel published. Littell notes that Heller had learned of Littell's "fictionalization" of the events depicted in ''The Defection of A.J. Lewinter'' and ''The Debriefing''. Internal details suggest that the events of ''The Amateur'' took place in 1972 (i.e. a terrorist victim's gravestone reads 1972).
* Some of the Nick Carter stories of the late 19th century and early 20th century used this idea. In the story 'Nick Carter and the Professor', the narrator states "and it may be explained that the operations of the four, as described in the first chapter of this account, were learned from the confession of one of them, who turned State's evidence". In the story 'Nick Carter's Mysterious Case' a footnote appears, after an asterisk in the main body of the page, reading "The detective [Nick Carter] has told me that he [a man Carter offered a reward] never came. What his was, is a mystery. AUTHOR". Another story has a note "The following story was told to the writer by Nick Carter" and "I tell the story in my own way and in the third person, but the facts, scenes and incidents are reproduced as nearly as possible in the great detective's own words. THE AUTHOR".
* Willard Wright wrote the Philo Vance novels under the pen name S.S. Van Dine. S.S. Van Dine appears as the narrator (characters will refer to his presence in their dialogue, but Van Dine has no dialogue). Oddly enough, some of the Philo Vance novels depicted him murdering the murderer. However, Van Dine established that Philo Vance had retired to Italy, whose fascist government probably would not have extradited him.
* The ''Creator/ElleryQueen'' books, aping as they did the ''Philo Vance'' series early on, present several convoluted uses of this trope. Early novels, starting with the first, ''The Roman Hat Mystery'' in 1929, have framing sequences which establish that the stories actually took place in the previous decade, i.e., the 1910s, and that all of the names have been changed. In other words, "Ellery Queen" was a pseudonym not only in real life, but in the novels as well.
* Creator/BrandonSanderson's ''Literature/AlcatrazSeries'' is written in first person, with the narrator stating that Brandon Sanderson is a seperate person that has agreed to use his name as a cover, meant to hide the book from the titular AncientConspiracy of Librarians who rule the world. The author biography states that "Alcatraz has met Brandon Sanderson, and he was not impressed."
* In ''Literature/LastAndFirstMen'' (1930) by Olaf Stapledon, the foreword claims that, while the author believed himself to be writing fiction, in reality, he was writing under the influence of the distant-future Last Men, who used a sort of [[MentalTimeTravel time-traveling telepathy]] to influence past minds.
* ''Cheap Complex Devices'' (2002) by John Compton Sundman claims in the foreword that, amongst other things, it was written by a computer, as was his previous book, ''Acts of the Apostles'', and that the purported author of ''Acts of the Apostles'', John F. X. Sundman, stole credit for the book. Sundman is only ever referred to as the "editor" of ''Cheap Complex Devices''.
* Janet Tashjian's ''Literature/TheGospelAccordingToLarry'' (2003), and its sequels, are written as if Josh Swensen, the protagonist, was entrusting her with the story to get it out, while not revealing Where in the World is Larry ''now''.
* According to Huck in ''Literature/AdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn'' (1884), Creator/MarkTwain was pretty accurate with ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomSawyer'' (1876), though "There was things which he stretched".
* Creator/KurtVonnegut presents ''Literature/MotherNight'' as the actual memoirs of Howard J. Campbell Jr, going so far as to describe how he edited one chapter for obscenity.
* All the books in the ''Literature/GeronimoStilton'' series are "written" by Geronimo himself, which is reflected on the About The Author page.
* All the Cathy's _____ books are like that. Particularly in the third book when [[spoiler:Emma decides that they will publish Cathy's journal and the evidence collected as a fantasy novel.]]
* Creator/HRiderHaggard used this idea in the Allan Quatermain novels (''Literature/KingSolomonsMines'' and sequels) extensively. In ''She and Allan'' (which takes place before ''She'' and before ''Allan Quatermain'', for important reasons), Allan Quatermain writes an introduction to his memoirs of meeting Ayesha. He mentions that he will have the author publish his memoirs (the other Allan Quatermain novels follow a similar format, with some novels referring to other novels by their book titles). Quatermain mentions that he actually read Haggard's book ''She'', and notes that the claim by one of the residents of Kor in that book that no male caucasian had visited Kor in decades stood as false, since Quatermain had visited Kor within the last fifteen years. (Curiously, Allan Quatermain died in the 1887 novel ''Allan Quatermain'' -- published the same year as ''She''. Quatermain must have read ''She'' not long before his death.)
* ''Literature/JamesAndTheGiantPeach'' doesn't seem like it follows this trope at first, [[spoiler: until it invokes it in the very last line in the book. We are told that James lived a happy life and grew up to become an author, and his most famous book was the true account of his adventures on the giant peach. "And that," the story concludes, "is the book you have just finished reading."]]. Another Roald Dahl book, ''Literature/TheBFG'', also doesn't seem like it follows this trope at first, [[spoiler: until the end, where it's revealed that the BFG himself wrote the book about his and Sophie's adventures and published it under a pseudonym. The story concludes: "But where, you might ask, is this book that the BFG wrote? It's right here. You've just finished reading it."]]
* The epistolary novel ''[[Literature/DangerousLiaisons Les Liaisons Dangereuses]]'' (a.k.a. ''Dangerous Liaisons'') includes both an "Editor's Preface" claiming that these letters are real and all the author did was prune them a bit, ''and'' a "Publisher's Note" (also written by the author) expressing extreme doubt that this is really a true story, mainly because people in ''this'' day and age would ''never'' be so wicked as the characters in the book are.
* The first Gothic novel, ''Literature/TheCastleOfOtranto'', is a subversion: Walpole never pretended that the events in it had actually ''happened'', only that an Italian clergyman had believed in and recorded them.
* Rex Stout's Literature/NeroWolfe mysteries are all narrated by Wolfe's assistant, Archie Goodwin, who occasionally mentions the publication of the books.
* Gaston Leroux's ''Literature/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' did this, claiming that Leroux put together the story from firsthand accounts from people who lived and worked at the Opera House. Later, the introduction to Frederick Forsyth's ''Phantom of Manhattan'' continues in the same vein, pointing out Leroux's mistakes as if the entire story were true and Leroux just got some of the facts wrong.
* Virtually all of Jack Higgins's UsefulNotes/WorldWarII era novels begin in the present day with a first person-perspective [[FramingDevice framing story]] in which the AuthorAvatar (usually, but not always, named Jack Higgins) meets one of the novel's characters, from whom he learns the main story. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in the prologue/preface to ''The Eagle Has Landed'', which claims that "At least fifty per cent" of the novel is "documented historical fact."
* ''Literature/TheAthenianMurders'' by Jose Carlos Somoza is supposed to be the translation of an ancient Greek prose work, [[FootnoteFever much annotated]] by a translator who we suppose is from the end of the twentieth century. As it turns out, [[spoiler: the translator himself is a fictional character, invented by an ancient Greek writer...[[MindScrew who has written the whole book, notes included...and appeared as a very minor character in the initial novel itself]].]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Gene Roddenberry's novelisation of ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' is written as though it is a record of actual events, and in fact begins with Kirk explaining to the reader that [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries previous tales of his adventures]] were somewhat exaggerated.
** The foreword of the ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' media tie-in book, ''The Needs of the Many'' by Michael A. Martin and [[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Jake Sisko]], explains that Martin's editor passed on a collection of interviews conducted by Sisko along with other pertinent historical documents to be compiled into the resulting book ("...and the accompanying derivative holoprograms.")
* ''Literature/TallTaleAmerica'' insists throughout that it is a true account of real people from American history, even in the bibliography where it cites works of fiction as sources (the 1987 reprint breaks this with the author's afterword, though).
* In ''Literature/LesMiserables'', Victor Hugo frequently refers to the actual events of the story and the research he did into the characters and events.
* [[Creator/FyodorDostoevsky Dostoevsky's]] ''Literature/TheBrothersKaramazov'' is set up as though it is a recounting of actual historical events (with even an introduction from its fictitious author presenting it as a biography), and the narrator himself expresses himself in such a way that he cannot help but become a character in the novel, even though he does not directly affect any of the action.
* ''Literature/{{Exegesis}}'' is not only an e-mail EpistolaryNovel, but it's implied that it's really supposed to be actual e-mails released in book form by Alice Lu (one of the main characters).
* ''Literature/TheRailwaySeries'' has, for a long time, acknowledged the existence of the books in its own universe. The Rev. W. Awdry even [[AuthorAvatar wrote himself into the books]] as an enthusiast called "[[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep The Thin Clergyman]]," who variously gets Bert splashed with mud in ''Small Railway Engines'', and takes part in the team that searches for and excavates the old sheds in ''Duke the Lost Engine''. His son Christopher didn't reference this as frequently in his volumes, but the central plot of 2011's ''Thomas and His Friends'' was the railway's centennial celebration of the original author's birthday.
* ''True Confessions of [[Literature/AdrianMole Adrian Albert Mole]], [[MargaretThatcher Margaret Hilda Roberts]] and Susan Lilian Townsend'' has author biographies for all three "authors". According to Sue Townsend's she was ''sued'' by Adrian for trying to pass his diaries off as fiction.
* The Author's Foreword in ''Literature/ThePaleKing''. Creator/DavidFosterWallace claims that all of it is true, yet he points out the disclaimer on the copyright page states that the characters and events are fictitious. He spends a good portion of the chapter noting the inherent paradox.
-->''In other words, this Foreword is is defined by the disclaimer as itself fictional, meaning that it lies within the area of special legal protection established by that disclaimer. I need this legal protection in order to inform you that what follows is, in reality, not fiction at all, but substantially true and accurate. That The Pale King is, in point of fact, more like a memoir than any kind of made-up story.''
** He also notes that he was not legally allowed to mention his publisher in the text - no one wants to mess with the IRS, after all - despite the fact that the publisher's name is featured on the book's spine.
* Creator/TerryGoodkind starts ''[[Literature/TheSwordOfTruth Wizard's First Rule]]'' with thanking Richard and Kahlan for telling him their story.
* In one of the first "Literature/BernieRhodenbarr" novels (by Lawrence Block) to come out after ''Burglar'' (the rather loose 1987 film adaptation of the earlier novels starring Whoopi Goldberg as Bernie), there is a prologue in which the author recounts a discussion he allegedly had with the "real" Rhodenbarr about the rather drastic difference between his older male Jewish self and Goldberg. Rhodenbarr claimed that he in fact actually had a distant name-alike cousin who was younger, female and black, and allowed as how the movie was probably about ''her'' instead of him.
* In ''Grinny'' by Creator/NicholasFisk, it's said that Fisk is a friend of the family to whom the children told their story after it was all over. In the sequel, ''You Remember Me'', he has a cameo in the story as one of the children tries to ask his advice about the new events as they're still happening.
* ''Alfonso Bonzo'' by Creator/AndrewDavies is presented as having been told to the author by the protagonist, Billy Webb. It ends with a letter supposedly written to the publisher by the title character, complaining of having been misrepresented.
* In "''Literature/TlonUqbarOrbisTertius''", the narrator describes his discovery of the ancient story of Uqbar and Tlön in great detail.
* Creator/EdgarAllanPoe's genre-creating detective stories featured a subtle version of this, with the end of one being withheld until the completion of the criminal's trial.
** ''Literature/{{The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket}}'' started off as this (Poe said it was based on a true story). Taken a step further at the end: [[spoiler: in fact, there is no "end". Pym died before he finished recounting his tale to Poe, and the last few chapters were lost with him.]]
* Carole Nelson Douglas has her Irene Adler novels include explanatory pieces by a Fiona Witherspoon, an academic historian and member of the "F.I.A." (the Friends of Irene Adler). Witherspoon claims to have spent much of her time preparing the diaries of Irene's companion Nell Huxleigh for publication. The multi-year hiatus between the first four books and the next four is "explained" by the fact that Witherspoon had to review and research not only Nell's journals, but other material "found" with them, which is presented in the text as journal entries written by other characters.
* The shorter works of Swedish author Fritjof Nilsson Piraten slide into and out of this. Some are short stories where no direct claim is made to their authenticity. Some are short self-biographical pieces that clearly are made to be taken at face value as things that happened to the author - but then the things that happened are outrageous or absurd. [[ItMakesSenseInContext Like the time he conned a British Lord into thinking he was a rich nobleman himself who basically owned his hometown Tranås.]] Often, he tells a perfectly believable (or supposed to be) episode in his life, until he meets an eccentric character who tells a fantastic story from ''their'' lives. Sometimes, Piraten openly tells us he thinks that person is lying, but that he won't say so to their faces or that he isn't sure. A lot of what he tells is mixed with actual places and people, so sometimes you will be surprised that this is just life embellished, and not a tall tale. These pieces are treated the same and published together.
* In ''Literature/CourtshipRite'', this appears in the afterword, in a more-than-usually tongue-in-cheek version, where the author claims the work is based on real research into galactic records.
* ''Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd'' is an essay made to look like a homework assignment written by Tash Arranda of ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear''. Its full title is actually "Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd, or What I Did on My Inter-Term Break". She actually cites her sources at the bottom.
* Creator/JTEdson would always claim that his stories were related to him by members of Hardin, Fog and Blaze clan or the Counter family; inserting author's notes to this effect in most of his novels. The only series this doesn't work for is the ''Bunduki'' novels, which take place on another planet (and, even then, Bunduki is still Mark Counter's great-grandson).
* In Franchise/DocSavage novels, there are a couple of references to Monk and/or Patricia writing up details of Doc's adventures and passing them on to the man who writes the novels (i.e. Lester Dent a.k.a. 'Kenneth Robeson'). Doc himself is not very impressed by Dent's literary style.
* Zohra Greenhalgh's ''Contrarywise'' doesn't feature this, but in the sequel ''Trickster's Touch'', one of the main characters visits the author, indicating that he'd recounted the events of the previous book to her.
* Creator/AndreiBelyanin's ''The Thief of Baghdad'' trilogy starts and ends each novel with the author describing his conversations with the actual protagonist who keeps getting transported to the ArabianNightsDays by a genie. The first time around, the spell causes the protagonist to have LaserGuidedAmnesia. However, the second and third times, he remembers everything. While this seems like just a claim by the author's friend without any proof to the author, the third novel breaks this by having a character from Ancient Arabia show up on the author's doorstep to tell the protagonist's story. Also, the protagonist's comments in the third novel imply that the author may have taken some liberties in writing the books.
* ''Literature/TheKaneChronicles'' is presented as a series of audio recordings sent from the protagonists to author Rick Riordan (presumably trusting him due to his [[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians previous work]], who then transcribed them for publication.
* Creator/RafaelSabatini's ''Literature/CaptainBlood'' is supposedly based on a number of historical sources, and at one point the author skips over several days' worth of narration because water damage on the ship's log had rendered it illegible.
* Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett's SteamPunk biography ''FRANK READE: Adventures in the Age of Invention'' does this to the DimeNovel Reade family. The book is written as a factual account of the famous Victorian family of inventors, one that will provide the full truth behind the DimeNovel stories.
* Pablo Bernasconi's children's book ''Captain Arsenio: Inventions and (Mis)adventures in Flight'' is said to be relaying the recently found diary of the title character.
* In Traci Harding's ''[[Literature/AncientFutureTrilogy Celestial Triad]]'', it is revealed that all of Tori Alexander's adventures were placed in the author's subconscious as part of the heroine's karmic debt to this universe.
* The ''Literature/LorienLegacies'' series takes this UpToEleven: the alleged 'author' of the books is a character- Pittacus Lore, the most prominent of the Elders- and the actual authors, James Frey and Jobie Hughes, get little to no credit (they are referenced in ''I Am Number Four'', where 'James Hughes' and 'Jobie Frey' are potential pseudonyms for Four's next life). However, the immersion is shattered somewhat in ''Fall Of Five'', where Malcolm confirms that the character of Pittacus Lore is dead.
* ''Literature/AtTheBackOfTheNorthWind'' by Creator/GeorgeMacdonald has it that the protagonist told all his adventures to the author near the end of his life; Macdonald himself appears as a character in the last few chapters.
* In the ''Literature/TheLostYearsOfMerlin'' books, the stories are said to have been related to the author directly by Merlin.
* ''Literature/LunarPark'' by Creator/BretEastonEllis starts out as this and stays just feasible enough to keep you guessing for a while. Descends into full-on MindScrew later on though.
* Creator/LinCarter's ''John Carter of Mars'' pastiche series ''Jandar of Callisto'', follows its inspiration in having Carter explain that he found the manuscripts written by John Dark (Jandar) and teleported from the Jovian moon. ''Lankar of Callisto'' takes it a step further; "Lankar" is ''Lin Carter himself'', who accidentally follows Jandar's teleporter while waiting for the next volume.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Creator/TerryNation insisted that his Dalek ExpandedUniverse material had been translated by him from alien cubes that he'd found in his garden, with help from his friend Creator/DavidWhitaker. As Creator/RobertShearman points out on the DVD special features, this was pretty absurd - Bill Strutton didn't claim that his Zarbi had been translated from alien cubes, and with no Doctor, the implication was that everything else was fun but only the Dalek stuff was real.
** According to the unofficial publication ''I Am the Doctor: The Unauthorised Diaries of a Time Lord'' by John Peel, Ian and Barbara sold the story of their [[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E2TheDaleks first]] [[Recap/DoctorWhoS2E2TheDalekInvasionOfEarth two]] adventures with the Daleks to a film studio, as a way of warning people once they learnt [[Recap/DoctorWhoS25E1RemembranceOfTheDaleks the Daleks had been on Earth]]. This did ''not'' result in the TV series itself existing in the Whoniverse, but in the movies ''Film/DrWhoAndTheDaleks'' and ''Film/DaleksInvasionEarth2150AD'', fitting firmly into the "loose retelling" category.
* In some episodes of ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'', an immortal Hercules is shown adopting the identity of an actor named Kevin Sorbo and playing himself in the show. In a rare counter-example, Ares attempted to get the show cancelled.
** In the same universe, ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' is based on "The Xena Scrolls", as written by Gabrielle, and later found by an archaeological team in the 1930s who all happened to be [[IdenticalGrandson Identical Grandchildren]] of the main cast. Joxer's counterpart left them to his equally IdenticalGrandson Ted Raimi, and the rest is history (well, it's as much history as ''anything'' in Xena is).
** The episode with Hercules pretending to be his own actor also reveals that the show's creators have taken some liberties with retelling the myth. Apparently, killing off Iolaus (the original one) did not happen as Hercules remembers it. According to him, Iolaus lived to be an old man. And that Hercules had to correct them...quite a bit.

* Peter Schickele is a professor at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, and is most famous for his work rediscovering and popularizing the music of Music/PDQBach, the least competent of Johan Sebastian Bach's many children. So he would claim, anyway.
* LesLuthiers periodically "discover" and perform music by the fictitious composer Johann Sebastian Mastropiero.
* According to the official biography ''Rise of the Ogre'', Music/{{Gorillaz}}'s creators Jamie Hewlett (cartoonist) and Damon Albarn (voice actor) are, in-universe, the band's director and producer, respectively.
* An important part of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_Lazer Major Lazer]] "mythology" is the fact that the two [=DJs=] who comprise it, Diplo and Switch, are only allies of the eponymous character, releasing his music under their own names to protect his identity.
** With the departure of Switch and the addition of Walshy Fire and Jillionaire, however, they seem to have [[AbortedArc dropped this whole angle]] [[TheArtifact for the most part.]]

* Inverted in ''Literature/TrueHistory'' which, while written to sound like other works of its day, was intended by its writer Lucian of Samosata as a satire about them; he declared it was about "things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." Yes, the first "none of this is real" disclaimer.

[[folder:Role-Playing Games]]
* Towards the end of ''Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG'', a writer named Samuel Piaker interviewed Dino Attack veterans so he could write a novel based on the Dino Attack. It is implied, of course, that the RPG you've just finished reading is the novel he wrote.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** The 1983 ''World of TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}}'' supplement was sketchily presented as a D&D adaptation of a scholastic game written by a "Pluffet Smedger" inspired by another work ancient to ''him''; the trope wasn't rigidly adhered to, though.
** Material for the ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' setting is often presented as having been personally rendered to writer Ed Greenwood by the wizard Elminster. The ''Volo's Guide'' series are written as in-universe travel guides later annotated (often grumpily) by Elminster.
** Greenwood also penned the "The Wizards Three" articles for ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'' magazine, which presented new spells for the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' game as notes written from meetings between Elminster, Mordenkainen (from the ''Greyhawk'' setting), and Dalamar (from the ''TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}}'' setting)... in Greenwood's own home. [[FourthWallMailSlot With occasional comments]] on fan letters and newsgroups, from Elminster himself (and once even from Mordenkainen's apprentice).
** ''Dragon'' used to do this all the time. FunPersonified MarvelComics character Comicbook/TheAwesomeSlapstick supposedly wrote his own ''TabletopGame/MarvelSuperHeroes RPG'' write-up, with the actual author claiming all he did was add "some semblance of grammar".
* The ''TabletopGame/CastleFalkenstein'' books are allegedly written by Tom Olam, an acquaintance of game publisher Mike Pondsmith who mysterously vanished during a vacation in Europe; Olam sends documents to Pondsmith claiming to have been abducted to a SteamPunk-plus-magic alternate world, in which he wrote the rules to the game using cards because the local nobility were scandalized at the thought of gaming with dice.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Nobilis}}'' has, since at least its second edition, contained contributions and advice from Ianthe Falls-Short, a demigod of the same kind as the [=PCs=]. Third Edition has made this more blatant, with the sourcebook's narrator (a [[AuthorAvatar fictionalized version of its real author]]) indicating throughout that everything the book describes is real, with sources including Ianthe and Genseric Dace (an Excrucian - one of the game's ''antagonists'').
** The spinoff, ''TabletopGame/ChuubosMarvelousWishGrantingEngine'', is just as dedicated to this conceit as ''Nobilis'', if not more so - the corebook is written as though Jenna Moran is a resident of Town after the death of the first Sun and the world drowning in the Outside, and the Fortitude setting book goes past this and is written as though she's welcoming you there yourself as a newcomer to [[{{Arcadia}} Fortitude]].
* [[ZigZaggedTrope ZigZagged]] in [[TabletopGames/HoylesRulesOfDragonPoker Hoyle's Rules of Dragon Poker]]. The introduction describes the [[ShroudedInMyth legends surround the game's origins]] only in the context of explaining what nonsense it is. Then it goes on to reveal it was all true all along and chastises the reader for not believing it.
* ''TabletopGame/StarFleetBattles''. All of the information in the game is said to be taken from a transmission received by a U.S. Air Force base computer sometime before 1970. The transmission apparently came through a time warp from Starfleet Command 250 years in the future. This was inspired by the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" in which the U.S.S. Enterprise went back in time to 1960's Earth and some of the crew beamed down to a U.S. Air Force base. It's a carry-over from the ''Star Fleet Technical Manual'', upon which the game is partially based.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Continuum}} - Adventures in the Yet''. The rules say in several places that the authors of the game received the information about it from the spanners (time travelers) whose adventures are the basis for the game.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Timemaster}}''. Several sections of the rulebook were written "by" members of the Time Corps. Pacesetter also used this trope for the ''Star Ace'' and ''Chill'' rulebooks.