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Differences between Novel and Novella

Differences between Novel and Novella

What is the difference between a novel and a novella? This is a question that has been asked for many years, with no clear answer. Some say that a novel must be at least 50,000 words long, while others say it’s simply a story that is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. However, the main difference between these two literary forms may be their purpose.

What is a Novel?

A novel is a long, typically fictional, narrative that describes intimate human experiences. The novel in the modern era usually makes use of a literary prose style, and the development of fictional narratives has often been associated with the novel. Novels are classified according to genre or the physical format in which they are produced.

  • Novels are often subdivided into categories such as literary fiction, science fiction, mystery, and romance. First appearing in medieval Europe, the form of the modern novel was pioneered by French author Honoré de Balzac. In 1825, British author Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” became one of the first successful novels in the English language.
  • Novels have since become an extremely popular literary form worldwide, with works such as “War and Peace” (1869) by Russian author Leo Tolstoy and “The Great Gatsby” (1925) by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald among the most widely-read novels of all time.
  • Novels can be further subdivided into sub-genres, such as the bildungsroman, which focuses on the coming-of-age of its protagonist, or the historical novel, which is set in a time period other than that of the author.

There are also experimental novels that break with traditional conventions altogether. Novels continue to be a hugely popular form of entertainment, with bestsellers such as “Harry Potter” (1997-2007) by British author J.K. Rowling and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2005) by Swedish author Stieg Larsson achieving both critical and commercial success.

What is Novella?

The novella is a type of short story that typically features a single, defining event that has a significant impact on the protagonist’s life. Novellas are often shorter than novels, but they can be longer than short stories. They typically have a tighter plot and focus more on character development than either novels or short stories. Novellas often deal with complex issues or emotions that are difficult to explore in a shorter work. Many famous authors have written novellas, including Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf. Novellas offer readers a unique experience that combines the best elements of both novels and short stories.

Differences between Novel and Novella

Novels and novellas are both types of fictional prose works, but there are several key differences between them.

  • Novels are typically much longer than novellas, often extending to hundreds of pages.
  • In contrast, a novella is usually around 40,000 to 50,000 words in length.
  • This shorter length makes novellas more concise and focused than novels, which can sometimes feel sprawling and unfocused.
  • Another key difference is that novels tend to be more complex, with multiple plot threads and characters, while novellas are more straightforward.

This difference is likely due to the fact that Novels have more space to develop their stories, while novellas need to be more concise. Despite these differences, both novels and novellas can be enjoyable to read, depending on the reader’s preferences.


However, we can say that generally speaking, a novel is longer than a novella, and a novel has more complex plot lines and character development than a novella. Novellas are often seen as being more literary in nature than novels, and they can be used to explore different themes or ideas in depth. If you’re looking for an engaging read that will keep you hooked for hours on end, go for a novel. But if you want something shorter with plenty of literary flairs, try out a novella instead.

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