Difference Between Short Story And Novel: Best Comparison 2023

Short Stories Vs Novels

Most of our first interactions with books and the written word, whether we were aware of it or not, were through short stories that is, the kind of literature we read in early grade school.

Many individuals believe that a narrative may be a mood investigation, a trip through a spectrum of emotions, or a detailed analysis of a single decision.

On the other hand, others say that reading fiction is a wonderful method to improve your social brain. Reading books, for example, has been shown to change our brains and social abilities.

Then there’s the question of short stories vs novels: How do short stories differ from novels? Continue reading, and Penn Book will explore the many aspects of these two reading styles with you.

Short Stories vs Novels: How to Decide Which to Write?


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What is a short story?

A short story is a narrative written in prose that describes fictional characters or events. Although short stories don’t have a set length, most publishers suggest that they be between 1,500 and 30,000 words. Short stories are intended to be read in one sitting and produce a single effect.

While short stories can have characters and plots just like novels, they are much shorter than novels. There are few characters and very few subplots. A short story focuses on the action and events within a very short time frame. It may contain only one setting and few scenes.

Modern short stories emerged in the 19th Century. They were influenced by oral storytelling traditions and short, moralistic narratives of parables, fables, and parables.

Short Stories

What is a Novel?

The longest form of prose fiction is novel. This is a lengthy narrative in prose that describes fictional characters or events. A few publishers have guidelines that the word count for a novel should not exceed 50,000 words.

This will give you an idea of how long a novel is. The novel is not meant to be read in one sitting or to have a single effect.

A novel’s plot, character, setting, and theme are important aspects when critiquing and appreciating it. A novel can be longer than prose fiction and contain more characters, themes, and subplots than other literary genres. A novel can cover a large amount of time, and some novels are long lasting.

A novel, unlike a short story, can be broken down into chapters or volumes. You can categorize novels into different genres like paranormal, supernatural, western, romance, fantasy, thriller, and Western.

The Difference Between a Novel vs a Short Story

what is the difference between a novel and a book


A story’s length is what distinguishes it from a novel or a short story. The length of your story can determine what genre you are writing. Does it need to be written in the same way as a novel?

  • Word count

Short stories are generally much shorter than novels, typically ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 words. Novels, on the other hand, are usually longer, with a typical range of 60,000 to 100,000 words or more.

This difference in length allows short stories to focus on a single plot, a few characters, and a brief period of time, while novels have the space to include more complex plots, numerous characters, and a greater exploration of themes and ideas.

  • Type of story

Short stories typically focus on a single incident or event, with a limited number of characters and a narrow scope. They often have a clear, concise narrative structure and a single plotline that unfolds over a short period of time.

Novels, on the other hand, are generally more complex and multi-layered, with a larger cast of characters and a more extensive scope.

They allow for multiple plotlines, subplots, and character arcs to develop over a longer period of time. Novels often explore broader themes and ideas, and may incorporate more intricate world-building, backstories, and character histories.

  • Time Period

Short stories often have no more than 20 pages and deal with a single event or incident over a brief period of time. They are intended to be read in one sitting and are intended to have an immediate and powerful impression.

The length and scope of novels, on the other hand, are substantially greater and frequently span years or decades. They have several plotlines and subplots that can take some time to fully develop, making them more complicated and multilayered.

The reader often invests time and effort into following the characters and their experiences over a longer length of time while reading a novel.


what is the difference between a book and a novel

A single plot, a small cast of characters, and a single theme or idea are often the emphasis of short stories, which are typically less complex than novels.

They may use literary devices like foreshadowing and symbolism to create effect, but they frequently rely on precise language and vivid imagery to get their point across.

In contrast, novels tend to be more intricate and multilayered, with numerous plotlines, subplots, and character arcs that can take some time to fully develop.

In addition to more complex world-building, backstories, and character histories, they frequently explore bigger topics and ideas.

Novels may also use more sophisticated literary devices including non-linear storytelling, numerous points of view, and narrative structures.

Are you a writer

How a Short Story Could Turn Into a Novel

A short story can be expanded into a novel in several ways. One way is to take one or more elements of the short story, such as a character, theme, or plot point, and develop it further.

For example, a short story about a single event or incident might be expanded into a novel that explores the broader context and consequences of that event.

Another approach is to introduce new characters, subplots, and themes that build on the foundation of the short story. This can help to add complexity and depth to the narrative and allow for a more extensive exploration of the story’s themes and ideas.

Sometimes, a short story can be used as the basis for the opening chapter of a novel, setting up the story and introducing the characters, but leaving plenty of room for further development and expansion.

Example of a Short Story Turn Into a Novel

Some short tales have the potential to develop into novels if there is enough room to delve deeply into a character’s backstory or if new plot lines can emerge from the central conflict.

The mayor wants his teeth out in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short tale “One of These Days,” but the dentist is hesitant to help him and seems unconcerned. This presents a surface conflict. The dentist is then pressured by the mayor to extract his tooth. Thus, the strain increases.

The mayor must be kidding, right? The dentist’s own gun, though, lends the threat a subtle air of danger. The mayor exclaims, “Now you’ll pay for our twenty dead soldiers,” as the doctor removes the decayed tooth from his jaw (without anesthetic), adding context to the battle.

This tale has a straightforward storyline, which is how a short story should function. A tiny town’s dentist seizes the chance to exact a minor act of retaliation on a mayor who has wronged the community. The narrative is around 1,000 words long and centers on a single connection and a straightforward dispute resolved. It is an excellent short tale.

What would have to change for it to be a novel: This straightforward vengeance tale has room for growth.

What caused the guys to die? Is the mayor really dishonest? Why is the mayor so despised by the dentist? How else has he behaved? Was the dentist somehow connected to the deceased men? What is the history of the illiterate dentist working in the dirty, dusty office?

The text would turn into a book if the author tried to get into this much detail. It suits the short tale format wonderfully as it is right now.

Overall, the primary distinction between writing short stories and novels is not merely the number of words produced; instead, it is the scope and depth of the text. To examine a complicated concept, you first need to determine whether it is worthwhile.

Different Genres of Novels

Different Genres of Novels

Novels are typically classified by genre. Some of the most common and well-known genres include romance, mystery, science fiction, and horror. However, there are many more genres that novels can fall into.

Romance novels focus on, you guessed it, love. They often have a happy ending, but not always. These novels can be set in any time period and often include elements of drama and suspense.

Mysteries are usually suspenseful and thrilling. They typically revolve around a crime that needs to be solved, and the reader is often left guessing until the very end.

Science fiction novels often explore futuristic worlds and societies. They can be set in space or on Earth, and often include elements of adventure and mystery.

Horror novels are designed to scare and disgust their readers. They often involve graphic violence and explicit scenes.

There are many other genres of novels out there, including historical fiction, crime, Westerns, and so much more. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s sure to be a novel out there that’s perfect for you.

Are You a Writer?

You must determine the type of writing process that your ideas are most suited to as a writer. Although novels are most popular and widely read, many writers (Kafka and Chekhov are great examples) wrote short stories almost exclusively.

You can also find many examples of writers like Hemingway, who wrote stories and short stories. It is up to you to decide which format is most appropriate for the story you are trying to tell.

The Benefits and Challenges of Writing a Short Story

What are the benefits and challenges of writing a short story

The benefits of writing a short story are many. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that a short story can be read in one sitting, meaning that the reader can devote their full attention to the story.

This can be a great way to hook a reader into a longer work, such as a novel. Additionally, short stories can be a great way to experiment with different styles and genres without making a commitment to a longer work. Finally, writing a short story can be a great way to hone one’s craft and improve one’s skills as a writer.

The challenges of writing a short story can also be significant. One of the most obvious challenges is that a short story must be concise, meaning that every word must count. This can be a difficult task, especially for writers who are used to writing in a more flowery or descriptive style.

Additionally, short stories often require a strong plotline and well-developed characters, as there is less room for error in a shorter work. This can be a challenge for writers who are more accustomed to writing in a more meandering or character-driven style.

The Benefits and Challenges of Writing a Novel?

There are many benefits to writing a novel. For one, it is a great way to express yourself and tell a story that is important to you.

It can also be a very therapeutic process, helping you to work through your own emotions and experiences. Additionally, writing a novel can be a great way to connect with other people who share your love of reading.

However, there are also some challenges that come along with writing a novel. For example, it can be difficult to find the time and motivation to write on a regular basis.

Additionally, it can be tough to stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked when you are working on a long-term project like a novel. But ultimately, the rewards of writing a novel far outweigh the challenges.

How Do You Decide Whether It’s Best to Write a Novel or a Short Story?

There are a few things to consider when making this decision. Firstly, think about how much time you have to dedicate to writing. A novel can take months or even years to write, whereas a short story can be written in a matter of weeks. If you only have a limited amount of time to write, then a short story may be the better option.

Secondly, consider your audience. Who are you writing for? If you’re writing for a general audience, then a novel may be the best option. However, if you’re writing for a specific audience, such as people who like horror stories, then a short story may be more effective.

Thirdly, think about what you want to achieve with your writing. Are you looking to tell a complex story with multiple characters and plotlines, or are you looking to explore a single idea or theme? A novel is better suited to the former, while a short story is better suited to the latter.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to write a novel or a short story is up to you. Consider your audience, your goals, and your available time, and make the decision that best suits your needs.

FAQs About Novel Vs Short Story

FAQs About Novel Vs Short Story

Why do authors write short stories instead of novels?

It’s why I suggest that fiction writers begin with short stories and not novels. This is a quicker way to finish a story and get your readers’ attention. The investment is also lower, making the process less stressful. It is also an excellent way to increase your writing skills.

What are the 5 key elements that go into a short story?

They combine the five essential elements of a great short story, character, setting, conflict, plot, theme, and plot.

Do short stories sell?

Selling short stories is not a quick way to make a lot of money. There is increasing interest in short stories as people are more willing to read them. You can also make decent money selling your stories if they are distributed through the right channels or venues.

Is the novel a short story?

A short story can be defined as any piece of narrative fiction between 1,000 and 10,000 words. On the other hand, a novel is a work of narrative fiction that ranges from 50,000 to 70,000 words. However, there are many examples of novels that are shorter or longer than these guidelines.


There is no one answer to this question as it depends on the specific short story vs novel being compared. However, a short story is typically shorter and has a less complex plot than a novel. A novel also usually has more developed characters than a short story. Thank you for reading!

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