Difference Between Novel and Novella (With Table)

Imagination is beautiful. Imagination is magic. And from imagination comes the Fiction. Fiction writing is an imaginary form of narration of literature. It is a combination of scenes or events deliberately built for the purpose of explanation of a certain situation.

Sometimes, fictions can be very engaging and sometimes, very boring. It actually varies from one reader to another. Fiction has a versatile way of depicting literature in the form of prose texts. On the other side, there is Non-fiction, the in and out opposite of fiction.

Novel and Novella are two different styles of fiction. The difference between the two has always been a matter of debate. This is because the definition of a novella is not quite the same everywhere.

Novel vs Novella

The difference between Novel and Novella is that a novel is a fictional story that is longer and has more word count, whereas, a novella is a fictional piece of writing that is longer than a short story and shorter than a novel, and also less complex as compared to the novel.

Comparison Table Between Novel and Novella

Parameter of ComparisonNovelNovella
DefinitionIt is a fictional narrative of a situation with a typical arrangement of characters, themes and a hint of realism. It is a fictional narrative that lies somewhere between a novel and a short story but is quite different from both.
LengthFor a fictional piece of writing to be a novel, it should generally have more than 200 pages.It is shorter than a novel having about 200 pages in total.
Word countThe word count is more than 40,000 words and can go maximum up to 80,000 words.The word count is 20,000 to 40,000 words approximately.
PlotIt has a complex plot that is presented by multiple characterisations with a detailed explanation. It has a plot that is less complex and more focused as compared to a novel.
Characterisation and themeIt generally contains a wide range of characters along with many themes and sub-themes.It has less number of characters and themes than a novel.
Chapter divisionIt is written in the form of scenes, so it is divided into chapters and even volumes, sometimes.It is a single piece of writing and does not have any chapters as such.

What is Novel?

A novel is a fictional form of a narration that explains a series of scenes or events which are interconnected. It is considered as the longest genre of fiction in modern literature. It usually contains more than 200 pages that have words above 40,000.

The word novel is derived from an Italian word, novella which means “new”. Moreover, the author of “Don Quixote”, Miguel De Cervantes, is considered to be the first prominent novelist of modern literature.

Characters and themes are what describe a novel in real sense. Novels also can be made in different genres. Thriller, mystery, fantasy, romance and supernatural are some of them. These novels come divided into chapters, or sometimes, even volumes. Although everyone has a difference in opinion when it comes to deciding the best among the others. But mutually, “To kill a Mockingbird”, “The Great Gatsby”, “A passage to India” etc. are examples of some of the most famous novels ever.

In the book, “The Rise of the Novel” (1957) written by Ian Watt, it was discovered that the birth of the modern novel was only after the 17th century came to an end. Undoubtedly, this novel is still one of the best written English novels. It is so beautifully expressed and organized.

What is Novella?

A novella is a form of fictional narrative that lies between a novel and a short story in terms of length. It consists of about 200 pages with 20,000 to 40,000 words approximately.

Surprisingly, the word novella is also derived from the same Italian word novella which means “new”. Novellas began to be a part of modern literature in the late 18th and the early 19th century. It is less complicated and has fewer characters and themes when compared to a novel. Unlike a novel, it is not divided into chapters and can be read completely in one sitting. Some examples of famous novellas are H.G. Well’s “The Time Machine”, Saint Exupery’s “The Little Prince”, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” etc.

In the 1950s and 1960s, there was a sudden increase in the interest in readers, writers and publishers regarding the use of novella. It started to become more popular day by day. However, unfortunately, its definition is often confused with a novelette, short story and short novel even today.

Main Differences Between Novel and Novella

  1. A novel is a fictional story that is explained in details, whereas, Novella lies between the novel and a short story.
  2. A novel is longer than a novella and has more number of pages in it. The word count is also more in the case of the novel.
  3. A novel has a less complex plot and is more focused than a novel.
  4. The number of characters and themes in a novel is more as compared to the novella.
  5. The novel is divided into chapters and even volumes in some, but the novella does not have any chapter division.


The continuing controversy on the novellas is a matter of consideration. It is mostly due to the fact that there is no proper definition of novellas provided. They are often considered as the short version of novels, which they are clearly not. They are, no doubt, shorter than the novels but are not a version of it. They belong to a different literary genre altogether. They are more focused and less complex than novels.

To sum up, Novels and Novella are two distinct versions of modern literature. A novel is more on the complex side which has various characterisation arcs and themes explained in detail, whereas Novella is more about a “to the point” explanation that is generally more focused than a novel.


  1. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=PmwfH7X-IKAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA9&dq=info:5GCnA60Eg_cJ:scholar.google.com/&ots=FXYpRtcLpn&sig=XGTkM6T_NqL5RuBlb96rK_Q4x6s&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=a1LoBQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA5&dq=info:FdrOTBXIpYEJ:scholar.google.com/&ots=pHJ4RC3uS2&sig=ao5nMQOdBZRgMOG7SZU2Pg60mfE&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
2D vs 3D