Novelettes, Novellas, Novels – What’s The Difference?

By on July 18, 2018
Novelettes, Novellas, Novels - What's The Difference? - Writer's

When it comes to writing a book, there are many classifications, and writers should make sure they are aware of the differences of writing a novel compared to writing a novelette or novella.

Understanding what makes a novel a novel, a novella a novella and so on will help writers decide not only what kind of book they’d like to write but also enable them to familiarise themselves with the structures, the rules and the audiences that will help to shape the book as they write it.

So let’s take a look at the different types of book.

A novelette

A novelette is a more modern term and is used to describe a book that’s too short to be considered a novella, but too long to be regarded as a short story. This book type can be ideal for new writers who want to experiment with writing longer stories yet can’t yet commit to writing a full novel. A novelette would be around 7500 words in length (though, as with all book types, there is no exact word count to define them) and would focus on a single character or a very minimal cast of characters and their one purpose or journey.

A novella

The concept of a novella came about in the early renaissance period. Some famous examples of novellas include A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and The Metamorphosis by Kafka.

A novella usually focuses on the main set of characters and sticks to one plot without digressing into subplots. Their length is around 20,000 to 30,000 words so readers can get through the entire story in one sitting.

This type of book works well for writers who find the idea of writing a full novel daunting, or perhaps know they have limited time and want the satisfaction of completing something sooner rather than later. A novella also works for those writers who feel they have a good story but one that perhaps doesn’t suit the full-length novel structure. If a writer feels they would be stretching their story and adding words just to get up to the required length to be considered a novel, perhaps writing a novelette is an idea that would sit far more comfortably with them

A novel

A novel is the most common work of fiction, and most writers who set out to write a book would commit themselves to write a novel. The length of a novel varies and depends on the genre of the book. Fantasy fiction and sci-fi novels tend to be longer (upwards of 100,000 words), where romance and general fiction stories tend to be sorter. A novel usually contains a whole myriad of characters, scenes, twists, actions, decisions and subplots that take place alongside the main story. Because of how long it is will be read over days or weeks. Novels ebb and flow, rise and fall and usually take place over a longer period of time. The beauty of a novel is that it takes the readers on a journey and invites them into a world in which they can live for a while.

All types of a book, of course, have similarities and give writers great insight into how to put together a piece of fiction writing that has a beginning, middle and end, and involves characters that readers can relate to and care about.

Those who familiarise themselves with the different book types out there give themselves more options, more room to experiment with length and style and ultimately can choose a book type to suit their story rather than trying to make their story fit into something not quite right - and that will result in a better book an a story told exactly as it should be - what's not to like about that?

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'


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