Difference Between Novel and Novella

Novel vs Novella

Those of you who are much interested in fiction would not mind finding out the difference between novel and novella. Fiction is a form of literature that presents written stories on imaginary people and events. Among the types of fiction are quite a few: novel, novella, and short story. Although there is an understanding of what each type means and its characteristics, the difference between them would not be something much discussed. Difference between a novel and a novella is going to be the prime focus of this article that would also discuss what they mean and how to define them. Understanding these differences would benefit amateur writers, students of literature, and many more in the field.

What is a Novel?

A novel is a genre of fiction that is referred to as a long narrative prose which presents a quite lengthy story of a group of fictional or imaginary characters and events. Novels are always presented in the physical form of books and are categorized into several genres depending on the central aspect; novels featuring humour and mimicking human flaws would be categorized as comedy and satire, novels presenting a love story would be classed as romance, etc. According to historians, the first appearance of novels dates back to 18th century and since then novels have been a major part of literature all over the world. Literary critics discuss and analyse novels in terms of their plot (story line of events), characterization (how characters are portrayed), narrative style, themes, settings or backgrounds, how language has been used, and style of writing. In terms of word limit, novels are always longer than short stories and would generally have more than 40,000 words although the average novel would consist of words around 100,000. Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ has a word count of 560,000 which extensively exceeds the average word limit of a novel yet is recognized as a novel of all times.

What is a Novella?

Being slightly different from a novel in terms of its length, a novella is referred to as a genre of fiction that is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. A novella too is a written narrative prose which is a common literary genre in a number of European countries. The development of novellas came into being in the Renaissance, but they began to establish as a form of literary genre in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In terms ofthe structure, a novella features a plot that is less complex than a novel, but more complicated than a short story. A novella does not, usually, contain chapters, yet is more similar to a short story that it can be read at one sitting. Notable examples of novellas include Earnest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.


Difference Between Novel and NovellaWhat is the difference between Novel and Novella?

• A novel is considered the longest form of written narrative fiction while a novella is shorter than a novel and longer than a short story.

• In terms of structure, a novel is presented in chapters while a novella is not divided into chapters.

• Reading a novel could take some time; a few days even, but a novella can be read at one a single sitting.

• A novel has a complex plot and more characters while a novella features a less complicated plot and a fewer number ofcharacters.

• The timeline of the events that take place in a novel is lengthier than that of a novella.

• The average length of a novel would be around 100,000 while a novella typically consists of words less than 40,000.

Reviewing these differences and many more in terms of themes and settings, it is obvious that a novel and a novella differ from each other. Ultimately, what to be remember is that a novel is lengthier and more complicated than a novella. In terms of structure, plot, and every other aspect, a novella falls in between a short story and a novel.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Book and Novel
  2. Difference Between Novel and Fiction