Difference Between Novel and Short Story

Novel vs Short Story

The difference between novel and short story is mainly seen in the length of the story. As we all know, novel and short story are two types of writings used in literature. These two writings should be understood differently. A novel is a long form of writing. It is fiction in character. It is imaginative, and is written out of the power of creativity in the writer. On the other hand, a short story as the name itself indicates, is a short form of writing, usually written about an incident, an episode, or a character in someone’s life. This is the basic difference between the two words. Let’s look at them in more detail.

What is a Novel?

A novel is a story that has many characters and explores many incidents. A novel is a long literary form. It is usually divided into various chapters, sometimes numbered and sometimes not numbered. The story of a novel is usually spread for a good number of years of the main character of the novel. Many other characters are also associated with the main character. These characters appear and go in a novel. However, it may not be very easy for a reader to remember all the characters appearing in a novel. This is due to the large size of a novel.

A writer who writes a novel is called a novelist. A novelist usually takes several years to complete a novel. He has all the time in the world to expand the story, introduce as many characters as he wants, relate the characters in the way he likes, make changes in the story whenever he wantes, and use his creativity to build the climax at the end of the story. But, sometimes, a novel is written quickly too and it depends upon the concentration and the time the writer takes to write on a daily basis. In the same way, reading a novel also takes more time when compared to the time taken to read a short story. It must be remembered that it is quite natural for a novelist to writes short stories too. Hence, it is possible that a novelist can be a short story writer too.

Difference Between Novel and Short Story

What is a Short Story?

A short story is a story with fewer characters and it focuses on one main incident. A short story is a short literary form. It is not characterized by many characters, which is a feature of a novel. The main character of a short story, of course, is supported by a few other characters that add importance to the short story. Thus, it is easy for the reader to remember the characters that appear in a short story.

A person who writes a short story is a short story writer. Writing a short story is harder. That means, writing a novel is more flexible than writing a short story. This is due to the fact that the story writer has to covey the important message to the readers by means of the short story, which is short in length. A short story cannot take the liberty of dealing with the details of any given incident in the story. It is more message-oriented than a novel. So, it is compact and explains only what is absolutely necessary. When it comes to time spent to write a short story, one can see that a short story can be written in a short span of time. This is an important difference between the two. Also, like a novelist, a short story writer too can be a novelist. However, some writers are better short story writers than novelists.

 Novel vs Short Story

What is the difference between Novel and Short Story?

• Definition of Novel and Short Story:

• A novel is a story that has many characters and explores many incidents.

• A short story is a story with fewer characters and it focuses on one main incident.

• Literary Form:

• Novel is a long literary form.

• Short story is a short literary form.

• Writer:

• A novel writer is known as a novelist.

• A short story writer is known as a short story writer.

• Characters:

• A novel usually has a number of characters.

• A short story usually has few characters only.

• Main character:

• A novel can have several main characters.

• A short story focuses on one main character.

• Chapters:

• A novel is a long piece of fiction and, therefore, divided into chapters.

• A short story runs into few pages only and, therefore, is not divided into chapters.

• Climax:

• A novel has a climax but it goes through a number of different incidents.

• Short story too has a climax, but it does not describe many incidents like a novel.

These are the differences between novel and short story.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Dracula via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. Writing by InverseHypercube (CC BY-SA 3.0)