Novelize #atozchallenge


I read a book a while ago called Tied In: The Business, History and Craft of Media Tie-In Writing. It was edited by Lee Goldberg, an author and screenwriter who’s written teleplays for shows such as Diagnosis: Murder, Monk, and Spenser: For Hire, and more recently has been collaborating with Janet Evanovich on the “Fox and O’Hare” mysteries. I came across it after I had read a couple of Burn Notice novels by Lee’s brother Tod and went looking for more by him.

The book is a collection of essays written by the writers of tie-in novels and novelizations. A tie-in novel is an original work that uses the characters from a movie or TV series. (The difference between a tie-in novel and fan fiction is that the creators of the movie or TV show have given their approval to the author, maybe even commissioned the writer with the task, while fan fiction is a story or novel written by a fan of the show and not intended for publication, since publishing it would be unauthorized and would get the author sued.) A novelization takes an existing screenplay or teleplay and turns it into a novel, often filling in details that weren’t a part of the original.

Novelization of the Doctor Who episode, “Ark In Space,” by Ian Marter (source: Amazon)

I’ve read a number of novelizations over the years. When the movie A Hard Day’s Night first came out, my mother wouldn’t let me go by myself to see it because it involved crossing Sheridan Road, the busiest street in the neighborhood. I had to settle for reading the novelization of it, which, after seeing the movie, I realized had nothing to do with it. Later, when I first discovered Doctor Who, I found novelizations of several episodes that had been written by Ian Marter, who had played Harry Sullivan, a character in some of the late Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and early Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) stories. I’ve also read tie-in novels for series such as The Mod Squad, The Man From UNCLE, Get Smart, and the aforementioned Burn Notice, and have seen tie-ins for Murder, She Wrote, Star Trek, Star Wars, and the various CSI: shows, and I’m certain there are plernty more.

I’ve been tempted to try novelizing a movie or TV show and to try writing a tie-in novel, which is why I bought the book in the first place. I might do it yet, but the more I consider it, the more I end up telling myself, “nahhhhh…” I sometimes think the book was written specifically to warn people off of trying it. I’m not sure. Maybe I should read it again.

One story in the book was the reason I considered writing again, which I hadn’t done since my stroke because I only have the one hand that I can use to type. It told of Walter Wager, who got his start writing tie-ins for the I Spy series. Walter, I learned, had written a number of books, and he only had one hand. That got me thinking, if he can do it, so can I…

24 thoughts on “Novelize #atozchallenge

    1. The studio wants to make as much money as it can from the movie, and if they think a book based on the movie, either a novelization or tie-in, will make money, they’ll commission it. Sci-fi sells particularly well in print, and a lot of fans will want to have the book based on the movie, whether or not they’ve seen it.

      Likewise with TV series, even after the series ends, people will want to see further stories with the characters. There’s a popular series of books based on “Murder, She Wrote.” The show ended over 20 years ago after 12 seasons, the reruns are still being shown, but fans of the show want more. Angela Lansbury’s moved on (and bless her, she’s still going), but people still want to see Jessica Fletcher show up somewhere and solve a murder…


  1. Hi John!
    This is a part of the craft I never knew existed! I appreciate the enlightenment 😉 Now why didn’t I use that word for E?
    You running across Walter Wager and his I Spy series was kismet, I think. Go for it, John!


  2. Hi John – lots of encouragement here … and I agree. So interesting to know about this ‘genre’ of book … fascinating to read – cheers Hilary


  3. This is very cool. I learn something new every time I read a post of yours. And for some very strange reason I would like to get permission to write a tie-in novel about the Incredible Hulk. Just kidding. I do not have the stuff for that. Still very interesting.


  4. I am a 50 something wife, mom & grandmama. I became very interested in writing, particularly journaling (I really love that word) after reading the, “Diary of Anne Frank.” I was a young girl and it struck chord with me and I have journaled ever since. I have never published anything or have no degrees in college. I took the road of homemaker, wife and motherhood and don’t regret any of those choices. Now, all my kidos are gone and living out their dreams. Professional Ballet Dancer’s two of our son’s. Our oldest got his BA in piano performance, a genius on the piano. My daughter is the nurse…(The only one who’s not a starving artist.”
    My husband bought me the book, ” On Writing, a memoir of the craft,”by Stephen King. I sometimes think it’s too late for me to be a REAL writer but I say no!!! What do I have to lose, go for it. I’m not leaving this world w/o publishing something !!! Oh and the husband is an amazing artist. Not his day job as we do like to eat and live indoors. I’m going to leave his link to our store Elan Creations, I hope you don’t mind. And I say I think you should go for it. You are a really good writer because it appears that you also read a lot and that’s a great thing for a writer to do. Oh my, I do go on … Have a great day Mr. John 😉


  5. Oh one other little factoid about me…I suffered a traumatic brain injure (coma for 5 weeks) and was paralyzed on my left side. I came through it, I was only 21 when the car accident happened so I know what you have been through. I learned very early never give up and always go for it no matter how impossible it seems. You only loose if you quit…Now really I’m done:) Time to cook dinner…


  6. I think you should definitely do a tie in. Have you thought of a movie you’d like to novelise? I didn’t know this about you – that you type with one hand because of a stroke. I wondered about the name of your blog but hadn’t found any information – or perhaps I didn’t look hard enough.


  7. I’m a recent follower so I had no idea about the tie-in to the name of your blog — amazing! I echo everyone else saying Go for it, why the hell not write a novelization or tie-in? I’ve written fanfic and have always wondered about that career path idea, but never purused — I’ll make sure NOT to read the book you mentioned tho, lol!
    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Theme: Odds and Ends Dragons | Writing Dragons


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