Novel. Novella. Short Story. Flash Fiction. No doubt you have heard these terms before. You might have an understanding that a novel is a long book, such as Harry Potter or Twilight. The novella and short story are shorter, but by how much? What exactly do all of these terms about books mean? As readers and writers, it may help you to have an understanding of these different types of fiction.
First off, we have a novel. According to the Author Learning Center, a typical novel is anything that has over 50,000 words. To put this into perspective, 50,000 words is around 200 pages, give or take. Now, keep in mind that 50,000 words for a novel is the minimum. Most published novels go above this number.
Next comes a novella. These are shorter than novels, typically anywhere from 20,000 to 49,999 words. Many novellas are published as ebooks, as they are harder to get published. Some genres that novellas typically fall into are romance, sci-fi, and fantasy.
Novelettes are even shorter pieces, coming in at around 7,500 to 19,999 words. Novelettes are also incredibly hard to pitch, so many of these are also published as ebooks.
Short Stories, a term you are probably familiar with, is a much more condensed form of writing. These are the smallest out of our types of fiction, and are usually between 1,000 to 7,499 words. Because they are so short, these usually involve fewer characters surrounding one situation. Typically, authors will publish their short stories in magazines.
Anything shorter than 1,000 words is considered to be flash fiction. This includes forms such as sudden fiction, postcard fiction, microfiction, and drabble, mini-saga, and six-word stories.
Knowing these forms can help you to choose stories you’d like to read or write. If you are a reader and prefer long, sprawling stories, novels are for you. However, if you like shorter, more concise stories that are a quicker read, you might want to look into novelettes or short stories. As a writer, you may find that you like writing the types of stories that need a whole novel or two to tell completely. You might also find that you like writing much shorter stories, perhaps even only taking six words to do so!
I encourage you to take the time to look into different types of fiction and try something new! You might be surprised to find that you like something that you didn’t think you would.
What kind of writing or reading do you prefer? Are there any of these forms that you’ve been wanting to try or are going to try?
Short Fiction Forms: Novella, Novelette, Short Story, and Flash Fiction Defined. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.authorlearningcenter.com/writing/fiction/w/identifying-your-genre/7125/short-fiction-forms-novella-novelette-short-story-and-flash-fiction-defined