Novel vs Novella: Difference and Comparison

Imagination is beautiful. Imagination is magic. And from imagination comes Fiction. Fiction writing is an imaginary form of narration of literature. It combines scenes or events deliberately built to explain a certain situation.

Sometimes, fiction can be very engaging and sometimes very boring. It varies from one reader to another. Fiction has a versatile way of depicting literature in prose texts. On the other side 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.

Key Takeaways

  1. Novels are longer works of fiction with more complex storylines and character development, while novellas are shorter than novels but longer than short stories.
  2. Novels explore multiple themes and have a more extensive range of characters, while novellas focus on a single theme or event.
  3. Novellas require a more concise and focused writing style, while novels allow more exploration and elaboration of themes and characters.

Novel vs Novella

A novel is a long work of fiction with a complex plot and developed characters, and it is divided into chapters. A novella is shorter than a novel, with a simpler plot and fewer characters; it is longer than a short story, with more detail.

Novel vs Novella

Comparison Table

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 between a novel and a short story but differs from both.
LengthFor a fictional piece of writing to be a novel, it should 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 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 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 scenes, so it is sometimes divided into chapters and even volumes.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 narration that explains a series of interconnected scenes or events. It is considered as the longest genre of fiction in modern literature. It contains more than 200 pages that have words above 40,000.

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

Characters and themes are what describe a novel in a 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, 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) by Ian Watt, it was discovered that the birth of the modern novel was only after the 17th century ended. 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 fictional narrative between a novel and a short story in 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, which means “new”. Novellas became part of modern literature in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. 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’s “A Christmas Carol”, etc.

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


Main Differences Between Novel and Novella

  1. A novel is a fictional story explained in detail, whereas, Novella lies between the novel and a short story.
  2. A novel is longer than a novella and has more 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 than in the novella.
  5. The novel is divided into chapters and even volumes in some, but the novella does not have any chapter division.
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Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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19 thoughts on “Novel vs Novella: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I’m not sure I completely agree with the way the article classifies novellas as ‘less complicated.’ I believe novellas can be just as complex as novels, albeit in a different way.

    • I respectfully disagree. Novellas tend to have a more focused and succinct approach, which doesn’t make them less complex, just different.

  2. This article really brought to light the increased interest in novellas in the mid-20th century. It’s fascinating to see this shift in literary trends.

  3. The comparison between novels and novellas was very insightful. It’s interesting to see the distinctions laid out in such detail.

  4. This article presented a comprehensive overview of novels and novellas. I found it both engaging and educational.

  5. I found the explanation of the word origins of ‘novel’ and ‘novella’ to be quite fascinating. It’s always interesting to explore etymology in literature.

  6. The distinction between novellas and novels in terms of length and plot construction provided in this article was very enlightening.

  7. I find this article very enlightening. It breaks down the differences between novels and novellas in a clear and concise manner. Well done!

  8. I appreciate the historical background provided in this article. It adds so much context to the development of novels and novellas.

  9. I’d love to see more examples of famous novels and novellas in future articles. It always helps to have concrete references in mind.


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