The Creation of a Novel

Novelization as you may have presumed is the act, process, or result of creating a novel based on a film, video game, television show, comic book, or other form of media.

On the right, is a cover of the novelization of The Lion King (movie) that I saw at Chapters’ today. As much as I do not enjoy movie covers on books, I am not sure that novelizations can be placed in the same category.

Vanity Fair points out in an article that the novelizations are usually “fleshed out with a greater attention to character, backstory and more descriptive action sequences.” At the outset, novelizations were a way to revisit the movie after you’d seen it in the cinema (this was before home video / DVD / Blue-Ray players). As you might expect, fans of the movie could easily connect to the characters in the novel and would enjoy reading the story while their imaginations reproduced the movie in their mind. This article shares insights from authors about the struggles they had writing a novel based on an existing script that is already finished and well-known, such as Pacific Rim.

Just as my oldest girl loved reading the junior novelization of Frozen and all of the side stories, I can see my youngest daughter loving the novelization of The Lion King. That movie held her entranced. She was in awe of all the animals and try to match their personalities on screen to people in real life.

Both of these examples are based on Disney, But novelization’s don’t just exist in the Magical Kingdom. The Star Wars Movie franchise has novelizations of the films. Godzilla, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Grease, Ever After: A Cinderella Story…the list is extensive. I noticed during my research that novelizations are seen most commonly in children’s, science-fiction, and fantasy genres. There is a smattering in romantic comedies like Never Been Kissed and historical fiction like Braveheart, as well.

Imagine seeing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for the first time. You see the beauty and wonder of Diagon Alley unfold around you. Snape’s introduction to Potions class makes you uneasy. During the Quidditch match, you feel the wind in your face and experience the sheer joy of capturing a Golden Snitch. You triumph with your friends over He-who-must-not-be-named and are absolutely elated. By the end of the film, you have found your home, Hogwarts.

Now, what if the book hadn’t been written? To be given such an incredible story to write as a novel – what a task! The story must remain unaltered. But, you can add details that fit the plot. You can give voice to the inner thoughts of the characters, really develop the personality of the characters presented in the film. It is you, the novelizer, who describes the setting, emotion, and action in the novel. Pretty cool but daunting as well. The boundaries are set but you are free to enhance all that lies within them thus creating a supplement to an amazing movie. I think, in the case of novelizations based on movies, I would appreciate a movie cover.