1. BootsyBlueyes
    Offline

    BootsyBlueyes Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK

    What is the difference...

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by BootsyBlueyes, Feb 15, 2013.

    Between a novel or novella? I keep seeing this 'novella' & I have never heard of it before (some writer, huh?) lol
     
  2. Trilby
    Offline

    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,098
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    NE England
    A novella is shorter than a novel. Novel - around 80,000+ words. Novella - about 50/70,000.
     
  3. BootsyBlueyes
    Offline

    BootsyBlueyes Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    Ok, thank you Trilby x
     
  4. FelicityMe
    Offline

    FelicityMe New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    A novella is a long short story or a short long story.. I always thought a novella to be a story that doesnt have quite enough umph to be a full novel..
     
  5. alexa_
    Offline

    alexa_ Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    2
    a novel is a long piece of writing with a wide set of characters, and novella is a short story which usually starts with culmination of the plot.
     
  6. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I've seen many definitions of "novella", but never this one. Do you have a reference for it?
     
  7. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I would disagree with this. First of all, a novella is not a short story. It is shorter and less complex than a full novel, but a lot longer than a short story. And none of the novellas with which I am familiar (Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" being my personal favorite; it was originally published in a special issue of Life magazine that was devoted entirely to that purpose) start with the culmination of the plot. In fact, I'd be curious as to what novella does, since it would seem to make the rest of the story anticlimactic.
     
  8. Dante Dases
    Offline

    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,446
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, England
    In terms of word counts, you'll find many different definitions of what a novella is. I'd say 90% of publishers will say a novella is a long short story of between 15,000 and 40,000 words, but I couldn't tell you if there is a single formal definition of just how long a novella is.

    If you're a fairly new writer it's not surprising that you may not have come across the term before. You're unlikely to find them on the shelves at Waterstone's!
     
  9. The Tourist
    Offline

    The Tourist Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Wisconsin.
    Writers write. Just like in any other pursuit, if you want to inflate your status you think of a fancy title.

    Picasso hit the nail on the head. He stated, “When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.”

    In that spirit, lousy writers pen 'novellas.'
     
  10. Dante Dases
    Offline

    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,446
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, England
    Tourist, you're right in that the primary focus of a writer is to write. But once something is written and you want to get it published it makes sense to know what industry standards are for story lengths, and to know their terminology. You wouldn't send a 25,000 word story - a novella by any definition - to a publisher that specialises in novels. You wouldn't send a novel to a magazine that only publishes short stories up to a certain length. There will only ever be a certain amount of mould-breaking that goes on, and only then in exceptional cases, where a story is of such quality that a publisher simply must have it. Knowing the terminology is extremely useful.

    And I'd probably not be quoting Picasso for my writing creed. I can see the point, but I'd disagree with it as writing and painting are fundamentally different creative pursuits. Writing is a more consciously technical form of art, whereas painting is more instinctive. Feel free to disagree, it's just my view.
     
  11. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    How does it follow from Picasso's statement that "lousy" writers pen novellas? Some of the best writers have written them - Joseph Conrad, Jim Harrison, Henry James, Robert Louis Stevenson, etc. etc. etc.

    I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the form.
     
  12. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I have to second what Dante and minstrel said.

    As for the original question, the word count is what separates a novel from a novella. That being said, I would say that a novella is closer to a short story because it usually isn't separated into chapters and doesn't have subplots.
     
  13. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I would offer Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" and Michener's "The Bridges at Toko Ri" as evidence to the contrary.
     
  14. Dante Dases
    Offline

    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,446
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, England
    I think what he's trying to say is that writers write stories first and foremost, and that those who categorise those stories they write are concentrating on what they're writing, rather than what they're writing, if that makes sense when put like that.
     
  15. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    I am not sure that's true of either short stories or novellas. Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novella that is split into chapters, 'Call of Cthulhu' is a short story that is split into chapters. There is also a Hemingway story that is split into chapters, but I forget what it's called at the moment, it's about two guys driving around Italy and they keep running in to Fascists.

    It's not unheard of for both short stories and novellas to have subplots either, but yeah, it's not amazingly common.
     
  16. The Tourist
    Offline

    The Tourist Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Wisconsin.
    Oh, you are correct with those examples. But lots of people paint, but few of those examples hang in the Louvre or Prado.

    If I penned one, most people would be apt to label it a "short story." When I got rich it would be a novella.

    Look at all of the definitions we had here. It reminds me of a radio announcer who said figure skating should not be in the Olympics. He rationale was that there was no 'score,' only opinions. At first I found that derisive, but he was right. If you cannot quantify an item, then you are left with just an opinion, or more apt, a "point of view."

    The people on this forum write and love writing. Even they aren't sure where the line is.
     
  17. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    As far as I'm concerned, a novella is defined by its length - longer than a short story, shorter than a novel. The word limits at either end are subject to debate, I suppose, but I'd be comfortable defining a novella as being between 15,000 and 50,000 words. But my point is that it's strictly a matter of length, nothing else. I know some people want to say novellas don't have subplots, or impose some other structural restrictions on the form, but there's no agreement on that, so anything other than length is useless as a definition.
     
  18. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    In think that to the extent there are differences in structure and content, they are dictated solely by considerations of word length.
     
  19. evelon
    Offline

    evelon Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    613
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    England

    Me too. They don't seem to be so popular now, but at one time there were months novellas aimed at the women's fiction market. Most were a shortened version of a Mills and Boon type romance or a lengthened version of a magazine story. Pretty mundane and not that interesting.
     
  20. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    This is absolutely right. In terms of feel, novellas feel more easy going, but that's purely because the word length allows the author to flesh the world out more. It is entirely due to the word length, and thus, different structures.
     
  21. Dante Dases
    Offline

    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,446
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, England
    That isn't even an argument. Very few people get published and write something that will get passed on down the years - just as very few artists paint something that gains international renown. The majority of artists might sell a few paintings at local exhibitions. It's not to say they're bad painters who make bad paintings; most of the time, the truth is that they're talented artists who make what they can and enjoy what they do. The majority of writers might pick up a few short story sales and maybe pen a novel that gets printed by a small press. Your argument is nonsensical.

    Charles Dickens wrote a noted novella or two in his time. As did Isaac Asimov. As did John Steinbeck. H.P. Lovecraft wrote a couple that I can think of. And Animal Farm by George Orwell is an English language classic. At the time, they will have been writing a story that only became a novella on completion because of its length. All were good writers who wrote good stories that happen to be novellas. The form isn't something that 'lousy writers' write.

    You could write something that was technically a novella that went on to become an all-time classic. However much you argued against it being a novella, it would be a novella. It's just a form of long short fiction. Most novellas won't see the light of day. But there are many hundreds of good ones out there that you won't have heard of because it's not a mainstream form of fiction. You won't see many contemporary novellas on the shelves at even the best local bookshop. You'll have to go to the small presses to find most standalone novellas and order them, and people don't do that. Open your eyes to the quality of the modern novella. You'll be happily surprised.
     

Share This Page