meta stories are meta
January 4, 2014 10:07 PM   Subscribe

I really love works of fiction that use the style, setup, or form of another media product as a means of storytelling and sometimes subversion. For example: TEDxSummerisle (complete with tweets and botched livestream) and The Theory of Narrative Causality, written primarily in the form of Livejournal posts by the Sherlock Homes fandom (inc comments and bits of fanfic) as well as GChats, TVTropes, and related media. What other similar works are out there?

Other examples:

* My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter - using Pinterest as a means of storytelling, though it's not exactly written "in the style of typical Pinterest posts"
* Problems From Everyday Life - Hannibal via AskMefi. I'd love to see this done as an actual AskMefi page, green and all.
* Seducing a Certain Delicious Prospect - interactive in the style of the Fallen London game
* No Reservations: Narnia - Someone film this, please

It doesn't have to be strictly fanfiction (as in, the story being told can be wholly original, like Toddler Daughter). I'm more looking for clever uses of the format and style as another level of storytelling and atmosphere-building.
posted by divabat to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Texts From A Ghost and Return of Ghost from Mallory Ortberg at The Hairpin.

("Texts From" archive at The Toast, where Ortberg currently writes)

Self Aware Roomba on Twitter.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:32 PM on January 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Would House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski count?

There's a zombie story told piecemeal through screenshots by a reddit user you might be interested in.

(Thank you so much for the link to that Hannibal fic!)
posted by Wonton Cruelty at 11:55 PM on January 4, 2014

Best answer: There is The Kids Aren't All Right, an Iron Man fanfic written and presented as a Vanity Fair article (written by Christine Everhart, natch)
posted by btfreek at 1:06 AM on January 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Not exactly a media product, but Daddy Long Legs is told in letters.
posted by emilyw at 2:16 AM on January 5, 2014

I have no idea what the SCP Foundation is, but I followed a link to this post the other day and it may fit what you're looking for. (Someone in comments mentioned Transformers but I don't know if it is or if it's original. And I'm slightly scared to start looking.)

I've also never read Shadow Unit so I don't know how meta it actually is - I'm pretty sure it was *meant* to be read online because of its structure, but don't know how that's worked out long term.
posted by Lebannen at 2:51 AM on January 5, 2014

One chapter of Jennifer Egan's A Visit From The Goon Squad is written as a powerpoint. Here it is in a multimedia presentation.
posted by Mchelly at 4:34 AM on January 5, 2014

Matt Ruff's The Mirage has alternating chapters written in the voice of (an alternate universe) Wikipedia.
posted by raisindebt at 5:42 AM on January 5, 2014

The .hack computer game series is a standalone program for a single player, but it simulates being part of a MMORPG. There are message boards the player can visit to see messages from "other players", which contain critical information about the story.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:40 AM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Feature Development for Social Networking by Benjamin Rosenbaum is told through emails and Facebook messages (via Metafilter)
posted by fussbudget at 8:09 AM on January 5, 2014

You Suck at Photoshop. One man's, uh, personal journey, as told through his photoshop tutorial videos.

A lot of transmedia narrative works do this, or something like this -- I'm wondering if Lizzie Bennet Diaries and the like would ring the right bells for you. If it does, some keywords for you to search are transmedia, cross-media, and alternate reality games.

I once wrote a story in a Google Calendar, too, just to see if I could.
posted by Andrhia at 8:13 AM on January 5, 2014

Best answer: Welcome to Night Vale is what would happen if your local NPR affiliate was located in a town filled with Lovecraftian horror.
posted by MsMolly at 9:12 AM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wikihistory by Desmond Warzel : Time Travel ala the edit history of a wiki.
posted by zabuni at 10:30 AM on January 5, 2014

Best answer: Digital: A Love Story (BBSes).
posted by dekathelon at 11:42 AM on January 5, 2014

Mayor Emanuel on Twitter. (Also available in book form as The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel)
posted by SisterHavana at 11:50 AM on January 5, 2014

I think that, strictly speaking, epistolary novels (e.g. Dracula) fulfill your requirements.
posted by stebulus at 3:41 PM on January 5, 2014

This amazing missed connection on craigslist
posted by sidi hamet at 6:05 PM on January 5, 2014

Response by poster: I marked Best Answer those that I've seen/read that really hit what I'm after. I meant to add House of Leaves in my question, thanks for the reminder!

The Texts From X style can be pretty funny. Asides from the Ghosts one, are there any others that have a story arc to them (and not just random banter)?

Epistolary stories do kind of cover it, but what I'd like is something more specific than just "written in letters". More like "written in letters received from an Amazon tech support person" - like how the Feature Development one takes into account what we know about the way Facebook works, or how the Zombie/Resolution series also shows something about how different news channels around the world convey similar incidents. So the medium becomes some sort of meta-commentary.

I am generally interested in transmedia anyway and these are some great examples of the type of transmedia I'm interested in. Keep them coming!
posted by divabat at 8:31 PM on January 5, 2014

How to Become a Mars Overlord by Catherynne M. Valente. Takes a rather interesting angle on Mars, that old science fiction standard, written in the style of a how-to manual.

(If this pushes the right button for you, I'm sure I can recommend others.)
posted by xenization at 12:11 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Texts From X style can be pretty funny. Asides from the Ghosts one, are there any others that have a story arc to them (and not just random banter)?

To be honest, I think the Ghosts one is the most like what you are looking for--it's the only one I recall that has much of a story arc.


Missing Missy: what happens when a colleague asks a graphic designer to make a missing cat poster. (Previously. Ha, I forgot just how much that link polarized people! Wow.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:36 PM on January 6, 2014

Best answer: You might also like Coyote v Acme by Ian Frazier and I'm Your Lawyer, Mr. Grinch by mefi's own Linda Holmes.
posted by MsMolly at 10:47 PM on January 6, 2014

I enjoyed 5U175, a Suits fanfic that hit lots of fandom stuff - LJ posts (complete with comments), IMs, email, PostSecret, FandomWank, at least one Facebook status post ... I can't remember what else.

And have you ever seen Pride & Prejudice told through Facebook posts?

To go old school, you might also enjoy Yolen's Great Alta series, which tells the same story through myth, fable, song, actual narrative, and sometimes as academic treatise from far, far in the furture which is getting everything massively wrong when interpreting the evidence.
posted by timepiece at 1:34 PM on January 12, 2014

Here's one done ala Ask Metafilter by the Whelk!

Problems from Everyday Life
posted by zabuni at 5:17 PM on January 19, 2014

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