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Novella vs Novel: What’s The Differences | VHBH



Before publishing your work was easy; novellas didn’t stand much chance in the book world. If you were a new writer trying to sell a novella to a literary agent, chances are you wouldn’t be taken very seriously.

However, the Book Publishing Services has evolved positively. Although novellas might not be as widely read as novels, both traditionally published and self-published authors now consider them a good option. But how do traditional publishing and self-publishing differ for novellas? And does it matter which route you choose? We will dive into these issues and more in this discussion about novels versus novellas.

Novella vs Novel What’s The Differences

Understanding The Novella

A novella is a story shorter than a full novel but longer than a short story. It’s like a mini novel. When comparing a novella vs. a novel, the main difference is in the length. A novel is like a big meal with many ingredients, like characters, plots, and subplots. On the other hand, a novella is like a light snack. It focuses on one simple thing or event.

For example, a novel might be about a family with many characters and stories. A novella would be about just one person from that family telling their little story. So, when thinking novella vs. novel, it’s like comparing a sprint race to a marathon. Both are races, but they are very different in distance and how you run them.

So the answer to ‘What is a novella?’ is simple; it’s a short, easy-to-read story. A novella is a great choice if you don’t feel like getting lost in a long book but still want a complete story. It gives a taste of a full novel without taking too much time.

A Closer Look at the Characteristics of the Novella

The novella is a medium for writing fiction books that have enchanted readers and writers for centuries. Understanding the intricacies of its characteristics can illuminate why novellas hold a special place in literature.


The novella’s length, typically between 20,000 to 40,000 words, is its first distinguishing feature. This concise form challenges writers to convey their narratives within a relatively limited space, making every word, character, and plot point crucial to the story’s impact.

For readers, this means a story that can often be consumed in one sitting, offering a sense of completion and satisfaction that longer novels may not.


In novellas, storytelling is sharp and focused. Unlike novels, where subplots can meander, and characters may come and go without significantly impacting the central story, novellas require a disciplined approach to narrative construction.

The storytelling in a novella doesn’t have the luxury of extensive build-ups or detours. Everything serves the story’s core, creating a streamlined narrative that moves with purpose and intent.

Character Development:

While novellas offer less room for sprawling character arcs, they do not skimp on depth. Through a more confined lens, writers can delve deep into their characters’ psyche, dilemmas, and growth.

This concentrated exploration allows readers to connect intimately with the characters, understanding their motivations and transformations within the novella’s shorter span.


The power of a novella often lies in its thematic depth. With a concise framework, novellas are exceptionally positioned to explore big ideas and themes intensely and directly.

The limited narrative space compels the writer to distill the essence of their thematic exploration, making every scene, every dialogue, and every conflict count towards the thematic arc. This intensity can make the themes in novellas feel more immediate and resonant, hitting readers with the force of a novel in a fraction of the space.

Popular Examples and Their Impact

Examining novellas like The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck illuminates the novella’s potential to leave an indelible mark on its readers.

Kafka’s tale of transformation and alienation uses its concise format to intensify the surreal, claustrophobic experience of its protagonist, Gregor Samsa. On the other hand, Steinbeck’s work presents a deeply human story of dreams, friendship, and tragedy against the backdrop of the Great Depression.

Both these works leverage the strengths of the novella form to craft stories that are potent, memorable, and capable of exploring complex themes with nuance and depth.

Why the Novellas are popular?

Novellas resonate with readers and writers for many reasons. They demand a level of engagement and reflection that differs from short stories and is distinct from novels. For the writer, the challenge of crafting a rich and compelling story within the constraints of the novella form can spur creativity and innovation.

For the reader, a novella offers a unique reading experience that combines the depth and complexity of a novel with the brevity and focus of a short story.

Novellas serves as a testament to the power of concise storytelling. They remind us that stories, no matter their length, have the power to transport, transform, and transcend.

With its distinctive blend of brevity and depth, the novella holds a special place in the hearts of those who appreciate the art of storytelling.

Understanding The Novel

A novel is a long story filled with details, characters, and events. It’s like going on a long journey, where you get to know many people and explore different places. When you compare a novel to a novella, the biggest difference is the size. They have many parts, like more than one story happening simultaneously and many people doing different things.

For instance, in a novel, you could read about a whole village and learn about everyone’s life, secrets, and adventures. This differs from a novella, which might tell the story of one or two people from that village. So, in the novella vs. novel comparison, a novel is more like a marathon. It’s longer and takes longer to finish because there’s so much to see and learn.

A closer look at the Characteristics of the Novel

Novels can transport readers to different worlds, times, and experiences, all from the comfort of their reading nooks. These literary works have become a dominant form of storytelling due to their depth and breadth. To better appreciate novels, let’s examine their characteristics in greater detail.


Novels are seen as the long-distance runners of written literature. They are typically composed of over 40,000 words, but with no maximum limit, they provide writers with ample room to weave complex storylines. This substantial length is where the novel writing duration often comes into play, as crafting such detailed stories requires a more extended period.

This feature allows readers to travel along on extensive journeys, making the chance of immersion in the story more significant.


Unlike shorter pieces of literature, novels are known for their complex storytelling. Often, a novel features main and side stories, or subplots, brought together to enrich the main plot.

Novels also explore multiple themes, producing in-depth and well-rounded narratives. This approach can offer readers a sense of exploration as they unravel the layers of the story.

Character Development:

Novels offer a deep dive into characters’ lives, personalities and growth. The length provides ample time and space for characters to evolve and show different facets of their personality.

For readers, this means forming deeper connections with the characters and, sometimes, growing along with them.


Novels have the room to explore multiple themes from various angles. This feature often results in a richer understanding and contemplation of these themes by the readers.

Whether it’s love, war, friendship, or the human condition, the novel’s broader scope allows the theme to be nuanced, intricate, and profound.

Popular Examples and Their Impact

Novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling do a fantastic job of exhibiting the novel’s ability to captivate readers.

Though written for different audiences and at different times, these books have reached millions of readers worldwide with their in-depth storytelling.

Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird uses its extensive length to explore themes like racial injustice, loss of innocence and moral complexity with great depth and understanding. On the other hand, the Harry Potter series, through seven extensive books, takes readers on an immersive journey filled with magic and self-discovery, showcasing character evolution over the years.

Navigating the Differences

While the distinction between Novella vs. Novel often comes down to word count, the true differentiation lies in the depth and breadth of the storytelling.

Here is a small explanation of the distinctions that our experts at the American Author House have created between novella vs. novel.

  • Brevity vs. Complexity:

Novellas, with their shorter length, focus on a singular narrative arc. In contrast, novels, unbounded by word count, weave multiple storylines and arcs, offering a richer and more complex narrative tapestry.

  • Character Exploration:

Novella vs. Novel provide snapshots of their characters, often focusing on a pivotal moment or journey. Novels, with more space to roam, delve into the nuances of character development and evolution, painting portraits over time and change.

  • Theme and Impact:

Both Novella vs. Novel can leave lasting impressions, but they do so differently. Novellas, with their focused narrative, can deliver a sharp, singular thematic punch. Novels, encompassed by a broader canvas, have the room to explore themes from multiple angles and contexts, enveloping the reader in a world of thought.

Choosing Between a Novella vs. Novel:

Picking between Novella vs. Novel depends on the kind of journey you’re looking to go on. A novella may be your ideal adventure if you’re craving a deep yet concise tale that wastes no words. With its straightforward path, it can offer a powerful, concentrated dose of narrative.

However, if you’re yearning to lose yourself in vast worlds, know characters as if they were old friends, and explore themes in all their complex glory, a novel awaits you on that extensive, unraveled voyage.

This is where considering the book writing timeline becomes crucial, especially for novels. Their detailed worlds and complex plots mean a longer journey for the reader and the writer, highlighting the dedication to craft encapsulated in every page.


When we get into stories, we find two main types: novellas and novels. Both are important in the world of books, but they’re different. Novellas are short and straight to the point, like taking a quick, beautiful walk. Novels, however, take you on a longer trip. They have complicated stories, many characters, and many things happening simultaneously, like going on a big adventure.

Deciding whether to read or write a novella or a novel depends on what kind of story you’re in the mood for and how much time you want to spend. Knowing the difference between novella vs. novel helps readers choose what to read next and helps writers decide how to tell their story. So, whether you pick up a novella for a fast journey or get lost in a novel’s big adventure, both will give you a special experience in the story world.

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