You know the Animated Actors
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 Fan Fic
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 Alt Fic
(for instance, the continuing saga, in the Doctor Who
fanfic community, of fairy tales being read to toddler versions of the characters
, and acted out, against their will, by the adult versions).
Not to be confused with Meta Fiction
or Recursive Fanfiction
Anime and Manga
- I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC has the characters referencing their own movies and writers, even after the series takes a more serious turn.
- It's apparently quite common for Joker Fans to have the Joker starring in a Meta Fic where he meets up with the many different versions of himself, often with the objective of exploring certain traits about him (why does the guy keep coming Back from the Dead?) or of simply exploring the different ways the character can be portrayed. Of course, since the Joker regularly breaks and leans on the Fourth Wall pretty much all the time in canon, Meta Fic involving him can get rather complicated...
- Played straight and very dark by Stephen King in The Dark Tower 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 Stephen King lives to finish the series.
- The Thursday Next 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 Wuthering Heights 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 Harry Potter and the Read Through mixes this and Animated Actors, as the cast of the Harry Potter novels critique the new fanfic script they've just been handed.
- That Doctor Who example up top? That comes from This Time Round, 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...
- This Time Round was inspired by Subreality, and the Subreality Cafe, where all the comics characters - and their fanfic variants - hung out.
- The Theory of Narrative Casualty is essentially a Sherlock fic where the characters are LiveJournal users who are fans of Sherlock Holmes. 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.
- Much of the humor of the Warhammer 40000 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 Plot Hole which is slowly devouring it, and guest writers of canon Warhammer material occasionally make an appearance. And are then usually killed off as punishment for the aforementioned bad writing.
- The Kingdom Hearts fanfiction Those Lacking Spines, while ostensibly self-contained, mercilessly skewers the dark side of every aspect of fanfiction, including High School Alternate Universe, yaoi fanfiction, the flanderization of all the "hot" characters (Xaldin, Vexen, and Lexaeus are the heroes of this fic because they are unaffected by The Virus that turns their comrades into shadows of their former selves), poorly done crossovers, random and wangst fanfiction, and Mary Sues.
- 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 Tetris, Prince Myer from Deadly Towers, and that chick from The Guardian Legend.
- Books Don't Work Here lives and breathes this trope even though it's an original. There is No Fourth Wall 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.
- Cass Toons, a parody Fan Web Comic originally started as a response to the Face Heel Turn of Cassandra Cain's Batgirl, is a Meta Fic of The DCU and to a lesser extent the Marvel Universe.
- The point of the Buildingverse besides being a Mega Crossover (in this category because most entries are Fan Webcomics) 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 Fourth Wall? What's that?
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has My Little Dashie, a decidedly non-comedic example.
- FIM also has "Human" by Dannyj, which while indulging in Humans Are Cthulhu and Darker and Edgier, 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 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 Harry Potter output is so large the characters have no choice but to use body doubles).