There are a lot of movies from books already out and even more coming out faster than fans can keep up. This is great because we get to see our favorite books as movies. But another thing that is becoming increasingly popular is novelizations. What is a novelization exactly? Well, hopefully this article will clear up what a novelization is and how it’s different from an adaption.
Let’s first talk about adaptions. An adaption movie (or TV show) is created (aka adapted) from a book. Normally the book has already been published, but a lot of times the book is written, but not yet published when its movie rights are optioned. Either way, movies from books happen by taking an original story written by the book’s author and transferring it to a screenplay.
In contrast, a novelization is when the movie or TV show is created before the book. Essentially it means just as it sounds. A screenplay writer will create a movie script, and then an author is hired to “novelize” the story into a book either simultaneously or once the script is complete.
Then there are tie-ins. A tie-in edition is a book that takes media and photos from the movie adaption and includes them in the cover art. The book content is still the same as before the adaption to film, but now it is “tied in” to the movie because the actors playing the movie characters are now on the cover. Whether it has an adaption movie or if it’s a novelization from a film doesn’t matter because the only thing that essentially changes is the cover.
One important thing to note when talking about the difference between novelizations and movie adaptions is that with a novelization the book is often times not as good as the movie. Like how we usually find that an adaption movie is not as good as the book, with novelizations it’s the other way around a lot of times. This is because a lot of details, inner-dialogue, and story building are left out of the screenplay, so the author writing the novelization has to assume certain things about the story in order to make it work for a book.
A general rule of thumb with books that are movies is, whichever edition came first — the movie or the book — will probably be better than its adaption because it was originally meant to be told that way.
One thing is consistent though with both novelizations and adaption movies from books, the end goal is to increase the amount of potential fans by adapting the story to multiple mediums in order to reach an audience who will hopefully enjoy it in at least one, if not all, of the available formats.
I hope this has helped you to better understand what a novelization is, as well as how it differs from adaption films and tie-ins.
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