Definitions of the text tags used in the database are below. For additional:

Explicit: The obvious use of metafictional elements to bring awareness to the fictionality of a work, usually in a way that directly comments on the artificial reality of the work itself. An example of this is a character in a movie making a direct comment about their existence as a movie character.

Implicit: The subtle use of production techniques to indicate the fictionality of a work. In this form of metafiction creators work to show the reader/viewer that a work is metafictional without directly commenting on it. An example is Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn, as it blurs the line between the real world and the fanstasy world without directly commenting on it.

Historiographic: A fictional work that blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Historiographic pieces often deliberately falsify historical information, while also focusing on the textualized accessibility of historical records today. These works of metafiction tend to focus on personal stories within history, rather than on the historical events themselves. An example is Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds that provides an alternative conclusion to World War II.

Author as Character: When the author/director appears as a character in the work that they themselves have produced. An example would be the book John Dies at the End, where author David Wong appears as the main character in his own book.

Story within a story: When one or more independent narratives is introduced within the frame of a larger storyline. This is also referred to as a frame narrative. For example, The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly, includes many full length fairy tales within the main storyline.

Awareness of Fictional Universe: When any character(s) within a fictional work comments on or implies an awareness of their existence as a fictional creation outside the realm of reality. This includes (but is not limited to) fourth wall breaks, where a character intentionally looks into the camera or speaks directly to the audience.

Explicit Reference to Storytelling: When any character within a work directly comments on the process of storytelling or acknowledges that they are engaging in the act of storytelling itself. For example in The Princess Bride, directed by Rob Reiner, the grandfather directly acknowledges that he is telling his grandson a story.

Intertextuality: When a fictional work directly or indirectly refers to or parodies other fictional works in a way that intentionally blurs the line between fiction and reality and/or makes a statement about the creation of a fictional work. For example, The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Fowler, would not be consider intertextual because the references to Jane Austen are intended to enhance the realism of the story, rather than to blur the lines between fiction and reality.

Pastiche: When a fictional work imitates the style or character of a previous work, typically within the same genre in a way that intentionally blurs the line between fiction and reality and/or makes a statement about the creation of a fictional work. An example of this would be Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote, which imitates the chivalric romance genre in order to draw attention to the flaws within this genre.

Autobiographical/autofictional: A work that combines autobiographical elements with fictional elements. For example, Alma Har'el's Honey Boy, which mixes fictional elements with events from Shia LeBeouf's real life.