Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sandro Botticelli's painting of the Adoration of the Magi has an inserted self-portrait at the far right: the position in the corner and the gaze out to the viewer are very typical of such self-portraits.

Self-insertion is a literary device in which the author writes themselves into the story under the guise of, or from the perspective of, a fictional character.[1] The character, overtly or otherwise, behaves like, has the personality of, and may even be described as physically resembling the author of the work.

In visual art, the equivalent of self-insertion is the inserted self-portrait, where the artist includes a self-portrait in a painting of a narrative subject. This has been a common artistic device since at least the European Renaissance.

Among professional writers, the intentional, deliberate use of first-person and third-person self-insertion techniques are commonly considered to be an unoriginal action on the author's part, and represents a paucity of creative thought in their writing.[2][3]

Literary forms


Similar literary devices include the author doubling as the first-person narrator, or writing an author surrogate in the third-person, or adding in a character who is partially based on the author, whether the author included it intentionally or not. Many characters have been described as unintentional self-insertions, implying that their author is unconsciously using them as an author surrogate.[4]

Self-insertion can also be employed in a second-person narrative, utilizing the imagination of the reader and his suspension of disbelief. The reader, referred to in the second person, is depicted as interacting with another character, with the intent to encourage the reader's immersion and psychological projection of himself into the story, imaging that he, himself, is performing the written story.[5] While examples in published fiction of second-person self-insertion are rare, the use of such is common in fan fiction, in which the reader is paired with a fictional character, often in an intimate setting.



See also



  1. ^ "Self-insertion meaning". Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  2. ^ "I Love When Women TV Writers Write Themselves Hot Love Interests". Jezebel. 17 February 2023.
  3. ^ ""Triggering" Manhattan: The Ethics of Self-Insertion – Confluence". 28 October 2021.
  4. ^ Morrison, Ewan (13 August 2012). "In the beginning, there was fan fiction: from the four gospels to Fifty Shades". The Guardian.
  5. ^ "The A to Z of Fan Fiction". Inquirer Lifestyle. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  6. ^ Mason, Fran (2009). The A to Z of Postmodernist Literature and Theater. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 338–. ISBN 9780810868557. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  7. ^ Klinkowitz, Jerome (1992). Structuring the Void: The Struggle for Subject in Contemporary American Fiction. Duke University Press. pp. 52–. ISBN 9780822312055. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  8. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Dirk Pitt Revealed | An Official Web Site for Bestselling Adventure Novelist | Author Clive Cussler". 16 June 2015.
  10. ^ Gargantua and Pantagruel, Francois Rabelais, chapter "How Pantagruel, With His Tongue, Covered a Whole Army, and What the Author Saw In His Mouth".
  11. ^ Ampil, Izzy (18 January 2023). "Mindy Kaling's Comedy Has Gotten Tired And Now She's Being Dragged For It". BuzzFeed News.
  12. ^ "6 Tweets That Perfectly Sum Up Our Disdain For The New Velma". HuffPost UK. 19 January 2023.
  13. ^ Losciale, Marisa (15 January 2023). "HBO's 'Velma' Series Slammed by Fans Following Season Premiere". Parade: Entertainment, Recipes, Health, Life, Holidays.
  14. ^ "Mindy Kaling's Velma emerges as the worst-rated show on IMDb and other review-aggregator websites - EasternEye". 25 January 2023.
  15. ^ "How Don Mancini Drew from His Own Closeted Catholic Childhood to Create Chucky". 13 October 2022.