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Adaptation Expansion / Literature

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Adaptation Expansion in literature.

  • Pretty much all retellings of fairy tales have to do this, since most fairy tales in collections are between 2 and 10 pages. For instance, Shannon Hale's Goose Girl takes a five page story with only one named character and a few throwaway lines about talking to wind and ends up with a 400 page novel and three sequels set in the same universe.
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  • Film novelizations inevitably require more detail to fill out the format. You should be prepared for "extra" scenes and dialogue that were cut from the shooting script, as well as inner monologues that give the adapters the chance to show off their narration skills. (Remember that in literature, Talking Is a Free Action.)

  • Agatha H. and the Airship City and, more, Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess and Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle contain material not included in the Girl Genius comics.
  • Nick Cave's first prose novel And the Ass Saw the Angel is a hugely expanded version of The Birthday Party's song "Swampland", which depicts the protagonist's death.
  • Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg expanded three of Dr. Asimov's stories:
  • Greg Bear's Blood Music was also originally an award-winning short story before being expanded to a novel.
  • Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee was first published as a novella and later expanded to a full novel.
  • Freedom's Landing, the first novel of Anne McCaffrey's Catteni series, is expanded from a short story called "The Thorns of Barevi". The novel starts much like the short story and follows its plot up to the point where They Do, but instead they don't, and the plot goes off on a dramatic tangent. (Even in the novel they do eventually, at which point there's a version of the short story's final scene.)
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  • Donna VanLiere's book "The Christmas Shoes" is a detailed story that evolved from New Song's song of the same name. The book added much more to the story than the man who helped the boy buy shoes on Christmas Eve, and became the first in a series of books that continued the stories of the man and boy.
  • Bruce Coville has done this with three of his own short stories.
    • Every book in his Bruce Coville's Book of... anthology series begins with one of his own stories. The first of these, My Little Brother Is a Monster (published in 1993), was expanded and adapted into the 2012 book Always October.
    • The seventh through eleventh volumes (published in 1996 and 1997) began with the five-part Serial Novel The Monsters of Morley Manor, which was expanded and modified into the 2003 book of of the same title.
    • Clean As a Whistle, first published in the 1994 anthology Oddly Enough, was expanded and adapted into 2015 book Diary of a Mad Brownie (retitled Cursed for later releases).
    • Uncle Joshua and the Grooglemen (also from Book of Monsters), by husband and wife team Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald, was later expanded into Groogleman (1996).
  • Descent has been adapted into a trilogy of novels. The novels take the games' scant plot and turn it into several interlocking plotlines involving epic badass piloting, corporate politics made entertaining mainly by Dravis's upgrade from Corrupt Corporate Executive to full-fledged Chessmaster, and a rather comical look at the plot through the aliens' note  and robots' eyes/sensors.
  • In the Discworld, the continent of Fourecks first appears as a random series of one-liners in the early novels, about surfing, wizards' hats with corks suspended on strings round the brim, and a mysterious place on the edge of the world populated by oversized rats who hop on their back legs. Those glimpses of an "Australia"-like place later came together as a whole novel, The Last Continent. Similarly, in Small Gods there is a brief reference to a tropical island where people live idyllic lives - until one day a massive wave comes out of nowhere and drowns all except a handful of survivors. This by-the-way discussion of the things divine will may or may not choose to do later became a full novel in its own right - Nation.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • The novelisations of Doctor Who television stories often expand upon them, to the point that they have their own subpage, listed above.
    • The Doctor Who New Adventures novel Shakedown is an interesting example. Buried in the middle of it is a novelisation of the Dreamwatch Media spin-off video Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans, which doesn't feature the Doctor at all. The material added to the beginning and end features the Doctor and his current companions, and recontextualizes the events of the video in a way that makes the victorious end of the video less of a victory in the big picture, so that the Doctor can step in and save the day. (One might wonder how the writer of the video felt about that, except that he also wrote the novel, so presumably he was okay with the changes he made.)
    • The first ninety pages of the Fourth Doctor novel The Drosten's Curse by A. L. Kennedy is her Time Trips novella "The Death Pit", which already ended with a suggestion that there was more going on for the Doctor to investigate.
  • The novelizations of the Doom series of video games starts out following the plot of the first two games fairly well, although they add a female marine for the hero to talk to. Then the third and fourth books continue to expand the series and take it to some truly bizarre places, like revealing that the demons are aliens involved in an endless war without another faction of aliens, none of whom can die, and throwing in some truly out-of-place nonsense about Mormons with stockpiles of guns and ammo for the apocalypse.
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card began its life as a short story before being expanded into a (much more famous) novel. Card never intended the short story to be anything more than that. His real desire was to write Speaker for the Dead, a book about how it's not always right to Never Speak Ill of the Dead. He had much of the storyline down but had trouble coming up with a convincing protagonist. A friend of his suggested using Ender from the short story. Card liked the idea but didn't want to spend a third of the book introducing him. His final decision was to expand the short story into a novel he always intended to be a prequel. While Speaker for the Dead is quite well-known in its own right, it will never be as popular as Ender's Game.
  • The novelization of Flash Gordon massively expands upon the characters, giving Flash a childhood with an abusive father and Dale Arden a backstory in which her uncle (or another, unspecified older man) seduced and raped her, which was neatly tied in with Ming the Merciless' treatment of her.
  • Flowers for Algernon was initially an award-winning short story by Daniel Keyes. Later on, he adapted it into a full-length award-winning novel. The expansion serves to give Charlie a much more significant character arc. The original arc is preserved but intermixed with Charlie's troubled relationship with his family and his brief romantic relationships. It makes his reversion and impending death at the end of the story even more heartbreaking.
  • Halo: The Flood is Halo: Combat Evolved adapted into book form. It adds a lot of details which were not in the original game.
  • The books of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy add a number of scenes and whole plotlines that weren't in the radio plays. This is entirely by design though as Douglas Adams intended for all versions of the storyline to be significantly different in some way from each by addition or removal of plotlines, characters and scenes.
  • How to Teach Physics to Your Dog began its life as a Rabbit Hole Day blog post.
  • The Kingdom Hearts II novel is both this and Compressed Adaptation at the same time. The book cuts out a lot of the visits to various Disney worlds and zooms in on the main plot first involving Roxa's story and later the machinations of Organization XII. While the second volume has yet to be released, it appears that the Beast's Castle, Land of Dragons, Disney Castle, Timeless River, Halloween Town/Christmas Town, Atlantica, Pride Lands and Winnie the Pooh storybook worlds have all been excised from the story. On the other hand, the story delves much deeper into some stuff not explored in the game, presenting many scenes involving Axel, Naminé, Mickey Mouse and Riku, including for the first time depicting the show in which Riku makes Mickey promise not to reveal to Sora and the others what happened to him.
  • The book A Little Princess was adapted three times by the author, first as a short story, then expanded into a play, then expanded again into a full novel.
  • Hunter Steele's novel Lord Hamlet's Castle does this to Hamlet, chiefly by making it Hotter and Sexier. For example, when Ophelia recounts how Hamlet visited her in her bedchamber, what she doesn't tell her father is that she and Hamlet had extremely explicit, rampant, steaming, highly physical sex... which is why his stockings were "down-gyved to his ankle".
  • Magic: The Gathering novels include details not present in the games or contradicting the game rules, which may be ignored or overwritten by more recent material.
  • The original Mulan is a short ballad that summarizes the story of a girl who went to war and became a valiant soldier, surprising her comrades when they visited her home and discovered her true gender. Since the original is just a summary, a lot of details would need to be made up whenever the tale gets adapted to animation, film, opera, or TV.
  • In the Noob webseries and comics, Horizon's Non-Player Character cast and plot are only alluded to via Boss Battles and quests done by the main characters while their adventure happen. In the novel versions, both the game's overall plot and the Non-Player Character stories are expanded, to the point of being on almost equal standing whith stories of the players.
  • With Paradise Lost, John Milton took the first 80 lines of Genesis and adapted them into a 10,565 line epic poem. The brief dialogues of Adam and Eve are now giant monologues while entire narratives about a War in Heaven and the Serpent's plans are invented out of whole cloth.
  • Another example of expansion within a medium: Lewis Carroll expanded his short story "Bruno's Revenge" into the two-volume novel Sylvie and Bruno - or rather, wrote the massive work around them, including a lengthy section where he met the title characters in their own world, prior to his first encounter with them in the real one.
  • The Rowan, the first novel of Tower and the Hive, is an expanded version of Anne McCaffrey's first published story, "The Lady in the Tower". Damia, the second, expands on "The Lady in the Tower"'s sequel, "A Meeting of Minds".
  • Warm Bodies began as a short story titled I Am a Zombie Filled With Love before being extended into a full-length novel. The story is still posted on the author's blog here.
  • Wild Things by Dave Eggers is the novel adaptation of the film Where the Wild Things Are, which is itself an adaptation expansion of the original children's picture book.


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