Metafiction is a term given to fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality. In providing a critique of their own methods of construction, such writings not only examine the fundamental structures of narrative fiction, they also explore the possible fictionality of the world outside the literary fictional text. (Waugh 2).
Spectrum: Metafiction is thus an elastic term which cover a wide range of fictions. There are those novels at one end of the spectrum which take fictionality as a theme to be explored whose formal self-consciousness is limited. At the center of this spectrum are those texts that manifest the symptoms of formal and ontological insecurity but allow their deconstructions to be finally recontextualized or 'naturalized' and given a total interpretation . . .Finally, at the furthest extreme that, in rejecting realism more thoroughly, posit the world as a fabrication of competing semiotic systems which never correspond to material conditions, ...(Waugh 18-19)
Patricia Waugh makes us point out the similarities among a selection of quotations and she lists three things readers would say:
NOVELS EXPLORE THE THEORY OF FICTION
THROUGH THE PRACTICE OF WRITING FICTION.
Metafiction pays attention to particular conventions of the novel by which the process of its construction is displayed. Novels attempt to create alternative linguistic structures or fictions which imply the old forms by encouraging the reader to draw on his or her knowledge of traditional literary conventions when struggling to construct a meaning for the new text.
A well-made plot
Authoritative omniscient narrator
Atmosphere of certainty
The process of constructing the world is more important than the plot
Unimportance of sequence & details
Plurality of voices
Non rational connections
Atmosphere of uncertainty