Difference between short story and novella: When it comes to the publishing industry with writing as its primary base, it is easier to segregate the types of literary works. Among the professional writers, it is quite an arguable era.
But speaking of marketing a piece or a book, we can diversely say the main difference between a short story and a novella is the word count. While any beginner hopping into the writing industry can have these questions, a short story is more well-heard of.
Novellas, on the other hand, is not so common that you’d find it without trying to look for it. All the while, as short stories and novellas have their differences – both have one thing in common – being fiction. Other than short stories and novellas comes a much smaller category called a novelette.
We shall discuss all of them in this post.
What is a Short Story?
A short story can range from 1000 words to 5000 words. They can also go up to 7500 words.
Apart from the length of the story, a short story is meant to be completed in one sitting. They do not necessarily have to be within the word range as long as they have the readers engaged. While with a novel, you can stuff in your highs and lows, a short story keeps readers on their feet till the end.
As a beginner, writing short stories is the best way, to begin with. You can’t pick up a pen (or type) and jot down a bestseller novel right away. Even if you do, any publisher wouldn’t risk it – given your position in the industry. But that doesn’t mean a short story is just something to start with. Some people are fantastic with it and known for their short stories – like Edgar Allan Poe.
And it isn’t an out-of-the-blue story you jot down and it turns into a masterpiece the following day. It takes its own set of efforts for it. For starters, to give a reader the best impact of a short story in its given limited word length, make an outline for your short story.
Examples of Short Stories:
I found a wholesome article on a list of famous short stories along with their authors and their word count. This post just wouldn’t be complete without it. So check it out here.
In that link up there, you’ll also see a handful of stories that are mentioned have less than 1000 words. Yet it falls in the short story category. When you dig deeper into short stories, you will see that they have been further categorized. You can check out in detail about how long should a short story be.
Not only will writing short stories help you get up that ladder in publishing, but it can also enhance your skills a whole lot more. Short stories – novellas – then aim for that big apple every aspiring writer dreams of – an actual novel. Speaking of skill enhancement with fiction writing – here is my post on how to write a short story (Link will be up soon. Learn More).
If writing short stories is something you wish to pursue – professionally – then go for learning it in an organized manner. Take up an online course – it can absolutely kickstart your writing. Here is one on Udemy – Writing Short Stories: The Essential Guide
What is a Novella?
A novel can have a book-length of over 40000 words. A short story is too short to be published as a book with its word range from 1000 to 7500 words. Now, a novella comes in between the two.
A novella can be referred to as a short book with a word length anywhere from 17000 words to 40000 words. Unlike most of those J K Rowling’s series today, novellas are comparatively less popular today.
On the contrary, from a traditional publisher’s perspective, it may be less expensive to publish a novella and easier to market compared to novels. Especially when considering a novella written by a beginner.
Example of a Novella
My favorite novella would ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Truman Capote. While it is hard to get such novellas as a standalone published piece, I read this where this novella clubbed along with a few other stories.
This brings an idea – if a novella is too short to be published on its own, then it can definitely be published with a bunch of other stories – just like short story collection books.
What is Novelette?
As mentioned before, a novelette is a work of fiction with the word count of around 7500 to 17000 words. A novelette is longer than a typical short story yet shorter than a novella ranging from 17000 words to 40000 words.
No doubt novelette is short to be published as a book on its own. But to short story enthusiasts, novelettes can serve as amazing standalone stories. They can have a much simpler plot with fewer key characters than a novel.
Key Differences between Short Story and Novella
In the end, it all comes down to this:
- A short story is relatively shorter than a novella.
- The word count for a novella is from 17000 words to 40000 words while the other ranges from 1000 to 7500 words.
- A short story is expected to be read in one sitting while a novella slightly shorter than a novel.
- Short stories cannot typically be published as a standalone book on their own while a novella can turn into a short book.
While both have their differences, they can have the same impact on the reader despite their word length. I cannot stress this enough: A short story can have a deep introspective message just like any reading material longer than it.
Maybe a novella can bring great satisfaction with a one-time read. A short story brings a subject to your table to discuss among your group and figure out what means. Fiction is not meant to be barricaded in word lengths. It applies only when it comes to bringing the story into the real world – into the market.
So let the words speak out for themselves and see where it takes the story :)
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