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Behind The Fiction, Past
A Fiction Column
By Michael G'Francisco


FICTION is the art of feigning, or simply put, it's imaging or inventing a thing or an event postulated for the purpose of entertainment whether it be science fiction, romance, western, or from the dark side. Regardless of its genre or time period a novel needs to be presented from a "point of view". By time period, I mean, "antique, retro or postmodern".

"Point of view" or POV - literally contemplates from whose point of view the story is being written. There are several: First Person, Second Person and Third Person Adjective point of view. Let's us analyze each of them.

First Person: This is where the reader follows the main character whose relating the story. Example: "Weight of Silence" by Heather Gudenkraut (2009). This griping tale of two little girls disappearing is a fast moving emotional drama with an unusual climax.

This POV is used primarily for autobiographical writing. The singular pronouns used are: I, me, my and mine. The plural pronouns used are: we, us and our.

Second Person: This is a rarely used POV because it is presented in 'you' writing about yourself in different situations. It can be a very difficult task to pull off between the reader and you. The reader could take an offensive position to your situation. Example: "Bright Lights, Big City" by Jay McInerney (1984). It's a tragicomedy of a young man in NYC struggling with the reality of his mother's death, alienation and seductive pull of drugs.
'You' is use in the Second Person POV to address the reader. The singular pronouns used are: you and yours. The plural pronouns used are also: you and yours.

Third Person: This is created by using characters being referred to as he, she or they. Usually, the reader never gets to identify the story's narrator. Writing in this POV has the use of people's names or a third person pronoun. Example: "Catch 22" by Joseph Heller (1946). The novel is about a man and an oath who is considered insane because he follows his oath to the core and at the same time he is perfectly sane by using his judgment in performing the very act that he is accused of being insane in doing.
The Third Person is the most common POV used in fiction writing. The singular pronouns used are: he, him, his, hers and its. The Plural pronouns used are: they, them, their and theirs.

The easiest way to remember these POV's is: "I" comes first, "You" comes second and everybody else comes third.


It's best we attempt to define METAFICTION. First, it can't be classified as a genre nor as the definitive mode of postmodern fiction.

The prefix meta means beyond or transcending; thus, the term METAFICTION literally means "beyond fiction".

METAFICTION is fiction, which refers to or takes as its subject fictional writings and its conventions, or more simply put, fiction about fiction with a dose of reality. In some cases it can spiral ones imagination out of control. Stephen King just might be a good example of this.

The paradoxical blending of fiction and reality can be read in works by several authors: Patricia Waugh in her 1984 book "The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscience Fiction" describes METAFICTION as "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".

Linda Hutcheon's 1980 novel "Narcissistic Narrative, The Metafictional Paradox" tries to separate historiographic metafiction from what she calls modernist radical metafiction or is sometimes referred to as American Surfiction (a phase coined in 1973 by Raymond Federman). She claims that early accounts of historical facts are tainted with author's subjective interpretations.

John Barth's (a metafictive writer) 1968 collection of short stories in "Lost in the Funhouse" present a good read in a postmodernist work. He defines METAFICTION as "a novel that imitates a novel rather than the real world".

In exploring the possibilities of self-reflexivity, one comes across the term "postmodern" to describe it. Since both terms "metafiction and postmodern" are quite commonly used today it's best we describe the term "postmodern". It literally means "after the modern".

The "postmodern", in theory, is the departure from works of literature, which was probably introduced in the 1990's or the year 2000, and presents the fact that any works in literature from the 1950's is antique, and anything from the 1960' s-70's-80's is retro.

Now, go softly into the night. mgf

Comments always welcome
Email: Michael, Behind the Fiction

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