Write Within Writing

When I was young I used to stand in my Grandmother’s bathroom and pretend I was the Rockettes. Not just one of them–ALL of them. The front and back walls of my Grandmother’s bathroom were comprised entirely of mirrors, and when I stood in the right spot in between them, it would look like there were thousands of me standing in a line, moving perfectly in sync. Naturally, I took this time to recreate the Radio City Christmas Show, kicking my legs high and saluting, marveling at the way one me became hundreds of me, diminishing in size ad infinitum.

The technical term for this effect is “mise-en-abyme“–French for “placed into the abyss”. A simple example is the old Sun Maid Raisins girl, who holds a box of Sun Maid Raisins with her own image on the box, and so on, and so on.

Write a story within a story. Use a story that is already known, or use one of your own, and then allow one or more of the characters to go home and write their own stories. In the fiction of your characters’ fiction, what happens?