Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ANSWERS, INK: Questions writers might have asked

Dear Answers, Ink,

If I write a story about a New York major league baseball team that doesn’t know how to play the game, is that metafiction?


Dear K.C.,

Metafiction is defined as writing that is aware of itself as writing. If a story about a New York major league baseball team is aware that it is a story about a New York major league baseball team and calls attention to that fact, then you are writing metafiction. Some writers argue that metafiction must also have a political component, but at minimum such fiction must call attention to itself as an artifact.

Good examples of metafiction in children’s books are THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK by Lovable, Furry Old Grover written by Jon Stone and WE ARE IN A BOOK by Mo Willem.

Metafiction, if done badly, can lead to the reader throwing the offending book at the wall, leaving, perhaps, a hole in the plaster, but that hole will only be a metafictive hole if it calls attention to itself as a hole, a fact too creepy to contemplate.

Metafictively yours,


(Dear Inkpot readers:

If you have a question that a writer might have asked, send it to Answers, Ink. If you have an answer to that question, send the answer, too. We at Answers, Ink particularly welcome answers to questions we haven’t even thought to ask. Special thanks to NZ for submitting the above question.)

1 comment:

  1. Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link is a cool collection of short stories with metafictional stuff going all over the place. And you might look at Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson and the rest of the Pals in Peril series.

    Mets vs. Royals: Who will lose?