is a literary device in which the real author of a work of fiction appears as a character within that fiction, either overtly or in disguise.
Some characters have been described as unintentional self-inserts, implying that their author is unconsciously using them as an author surrogate. This is particularly common in Mary Sue fanfiction.
Examples of self-insertion
- Jillian Mcdonald in meandbillybob.com
- Dante Alighieri in The Divine Comedy
- Geoffrey Chaucer in ''The Canterbury Tales'
- Agatha Christie's Ariadne Oliver
- Martin Amis under his own name in Money, and as Mark Asprey in London Fields.
- One of two Philip José Farmer characters named Peter Jairus Frigate; also Paul Janus Finnegan in the World of Tiers series.
- In the anime Excel Saga, Rikudo Koshi and Watanabe Shinichi appear as characters
- Watanabe also appears as the rental store owner in Nerima Daikon Brothers. Although the complete face is never seen, the silhouette and clothing makes it clear that it is Watanabe himself.
- In many webcomics (e.g. the sprite comic Bob and George, Irregular Webcomic!, and many others), the author appears as a character.
- Stephen King inserts himself into his Dark Tower series, starting at book five.
- Grant Morrison appears as himself in Animal Man, apologizing to the protagonist for the events in the series.
- Osamu Tezuka is seen in a few of his manga as a secondary character.
- Dave Sim inserts himself into his graphic novel Cerebus on several occasions.
- Anthony Burgess appears as the author P. Alexander in his novel A Clockwork Orange.
- William Goldman appears in and is the narrator of The Princess Bride, and even injects freely during the story about edits he made to S.Morgenstern's "novel". "S. Morgenstern" even is his pseudonym.
- In the Inheritance Cycle, novelist Christopher Paolini has often mentioned that his protagonist Eragon is based on him.
- Isaac Asimov appears as himself in Murder at the A.B.A.. He also appears to be the unnamed writer to whom the Azazel stories are narrated.
- Charlie Kaufman inserted himself as the protagonist of his screenplay Adaptation.
- Kurt Vonnegut in his novel Breakfast of Champions.
- Somerset Maugham in his novel The Razor's Edge.
- Louis Sachar in his Wayside School series.
- Hiromu Arakawa often appears as a stylized cow during the extras feature in her "Fullmetal Alchemist" manga.
- John Fowles or alternatively his authorial alter ego appears at the end of the second ending in his book "The French Lieutenant's Woman".
- Matt Stone has asserted that the character Kyle Broflovski is loosely based on himself in the show South Park.
- Trey Parker has stated that the character Stanley "Stan" Marsh is based on himself in the show South Park
- A mysterious macintosh-wearing character in James Joyce's Ulysses is believed by some (including Nabokov) to be the author himself.
- The writer of the User Friendly webcomic inserts himself into the comic wearing a bag on his head.