Novel vs Short Story: Difference and Comparison

There are several types of writing in literature, such as novels, short stories, poetry, essays, and poems.

Every writer has their settings, word count, genre, subplots, characters, and points of view. But, people tend to confuse such writings, although they are very different from each other.

The novel and short story have an evident difference in word count.

Key Takeaways

  1. Novels are lengthy works of fiction with intricate plots, whereas short stories are brief and focus on a single narrative.
  2. Novels explore multiple themes and character development, while short stories concentrate on a singular idea or incident.
  3. Short stories can be read in one sitting, whereas novels require a more extended commitment of time and attention.

Novel vs Short Story

A novel is a long-form fictional narrative, having a complex plot and involving multiple characters, settings, and themes. A short story is a brief, self-contained fictional narrative focusing on a single character, event, or idea and has a clear beginning, middle, and end.

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The novel is a genre of writing in literature composed of 50,000 to 70,000 words. The novel’s context or plot is complex and comprehensive as it makes it thrilling and captivating.

It also incorporates subplots to give a sense of tension to increase the eagerness of the audience. Moreover, it covers a prolonged period. Even there’s a long list of characters in the novel. 

The short story is also a genre of writing in literature composed of 1,000 to 10,000 words. The idea or plot of the short story is coherent and compact.

It doesn’t incorporate subplots. Moreover, it covers a short period. Even there are a few characters in the novel. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparison Novel Short Story 
Word count A novel has 50,000 to 70,000 words.A short story only has 1,000 to 10,000 words. 
IdeaA Novel needs complex and extensive ideas to maintain its length.A short story can work with coherent and compact ideas.
PeriodA Novel covers a prolonged period.A short story covers a short period. 
SubplotsThe Novel incorporates subplots to make it more thrilling. A short story revolves around the main plot. 
Characters The Novel has lots of characters.The short story has fewer characters. 

What is a Novel?

In literature, there are different types of writings. One of them is a Novel composed of 50,000 to 70,000 words with an intricate and extensive idea.

The novel is lengthy and has a lot of characters, but there are exceptions. So some might be shorter than the standard length of a novel.

Unlike the short story, the novel engages readers to read it for a longer period. The reason behind the intricate plot of the novel is to maintain the length of the novel. And it covers events of a longer period. 

The novel’s outline includes a subplot to increase the novel’s complexity. Thereby making it engaging for the readers. 

Writers incorporate a type of setting in writing, and it may be a historical period or building a new one. But, it may require exposition while writing a new setting.

Apparently, a setting sets up the mood for readers.

Due to the lengthy plot of the novel, it has a long list of characters that eventually helps build up the novel’s plot and subplot. 

The writer can shift the point of view strategically in the novel as it draws the attention of the reader.

Additionally, the writer juggles with the point of view and changes it from the first person to the third person and vice versa.

novel

What is a Short Story?

One of them is a short story composed of 1,000 to 10,000 words with a coherent and short idea. The novel is short and has few characters, but there are exceptions.

Some might be a little longer than common short stories. 

Unlike the novel, the short story engages readers to read it for a short period. The reason behind the coherent plot of the novel is to maintain the short length of the short story. And it covers events of a short period. 

The outline of the short story doesn’t include a subplot as it may lead to lengthy and faze the plot. Thereby, it doesn’t use subplots. However, some short stories may include subplots. 

Writers incorporate a type of setting in writing, and it may be a historical period or building a new one. But, the exposition in short stories is minimal as it can be a concern for wordiness. 

Due to the coherent plot of the short story, it has few characters who are the sole reason for building up the plot.

The writer can’t shift the point of view in the short story as it is meant to be read in a day or two. That’s the sole reason for limiting several aspects of the writing of the short story. 

short story

Main Differences Between a Novel and Short Story 

Literature has different types of writings, and all have their set structure and patterns. However, some writings can have their own new setting. The novel and short story is a type of writing in literature composed of plot and subplots sometimes. Although, a novel and a short story are very different. One of the obvious differences is word count. 

  1. The novel has 50,000 to 70,000 words, while a short story only has 1,000 to 10,000 words. 
  2. A Novel needs complex and larger ideas to maintain its length. Meanwhile, A short story can work with simple and short ideas. 
  3. A Novel covers a long period, while a short story covers a short period. 
  4. The Novel incorporates subplots to make it more thrilling. However, a short story revolves around the main plot.
  5. The Novel has lots of characters, while the short story has fewer characters. 
Difference Between a Novel and a Short Story
References
  1. https://www.utpjournals.press/doi/abs/10.3138/utq.68.4.878
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25121469

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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