“It Wasn’t Like That in the Movie”: Novelization and Expansion

  • Kate Newell
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture book series (PSADVC)


In Chapter 2, I argue that novelizations make specific contributions to a given work’s adaptation network, particularly in their ability to attract reluctant readers, to expand readers’ understanding of characters and context, to provide alternative versions of a work’s narrative and outcome, and to affirm the set of recognizable reference points audiences come to associate with a given work. This chapter provides a brief overview of the history of novelization and its various subgenres, addresses how novelization aligns with other modes of adaptation and word-image negotiation, and considers what conversations about novelization reveal about medial biases and audiences’ expectations for adaptation. I examine processes by which novelizations can complicate readers’ understanding of particular works by providing alternate endings, as is the case in the novelizations of My Girl (1991) and Pretty in Pink (1986), or backstory and social context, as in the case of the novelization of Basic Instinct (1992). In an examination of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chosen (2003), the novelization of the show’s seventh season, I look also at the manner in which novelization can expand the range of intertexts through which a given work or franchise is viewed. Using novelizations of Grease (1978) and The Wizard of Oz (1993) as test cases, I consider also some challenges of adaptation posed by the seemingly “unwritable” genre of the musical. I conclude with a consideration of the contributions fan-produced tie-in writing make to adaptation networks.


Visual Text Fictional World Star Trek Adaptation Network Dance Floor 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate Newell
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah College of Art and DesignSavannahUSA

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