UHV Prof Writes Novel Based on Disney Film


As Disney prepares to release its latest movie, “Coco,” in November, a novelization of the story written by a University of Houston-Victoria faculty member already is on bookstore shelves.

“Coco: A Story About Music, Shoes and Family” was released Oct. 10. The book adaptation of the film was written by Diana López, a UHV associate professor of creative writing.

“This was a dream project for me,” López said.

“Coco” follows the story of a Mexican boy named Miguel who loves music and wants to become an accomplished musician. However, his family has banned music for generations. As he tries to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead with his dog, Dante. There, Miguel begins a journey to find the secret history of his family.

López has written several books for middle school students in the past. In 2016, she published “Nothing Up My Sleeve,” the story of three young boys who decide to learn magic tricks. She has published three other books, including “Confetti Girl,” “Choke” and “Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel.”

The experience of writing a book based on a screenplay presented an interesting challenge, López said. It was a much more rigid, collaborative effort than her previous writing projects. There was an intense schedule of deadlines, and there were multiple approval processes during the project. In addition, the different methods of writing screenplays left a lot of details unknown.

“When you look at a screenplay, it’s almost all dialogue,” López said. “There might be a few minimal setting descriptions, but a lot is left to the discretion of the director. Thankfully, I could use some pictures from the film to fill in some of the blanks, but ultimately, I had to write the novel without actually seeing the film.”


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