What is a Novella?

This is post #14 of #BlogchatterA2Z.

This includes blogging every day in April for 26 days, except on Sundays. What’s special about it is that every day’s post will be corresponding to each letter of the alphabet. 

My theme for 2021 is Bookish TriviaIf you liked this post, don’t forget to “roll” me on Blogchatter’s website!

All my #BlogchatterA2Z posts 2021 can be found here.

Do you like thick books i.e. >500 pages long? 

Or are you happy to indulge in bite-sized pieces of fiction? 

The word counts/page counts of different pieces of fiction — novel, novella, novelette, flash fiction, micro-fiction–seem to vary slightly depending on who you ask.

My take is that the quality of the story should be more important than the need to meet a required word count.

I’ll describe the characteristics of a novella in detail in this post.

What qualifies as a novella?

A novella is a piece of standalone prose fiction that’s not as long as a novel, yet not as short as a short story/novelette. In brief, a novella is a short novel.

They’re usually between 17,500 words and 40,000 words or around 100-200 pages. But there’s no hard and fast rule about the length of novellas.

The unusual length of novellas makes it hard to categorise, and thus, difficult to market. Literary magazines find them too long, yet book publishers find them too short. But they still appeal to authors because they encourage experimental writing. 

Contrast this with:

Novelette7500 -19000 wordsUpto 100 pages
Short story1000 – 7500 words
Flash fiction< 1000 words
Micro-fiction< 500 words

The defining features of a novella are:

  • Usually focus on a single main character
  • Focus on a single plot 
  • More complex than short stories
  • Can be read in a single day
  • Often feature a wendepunkt (unexpected turning point)
  • Often express themes through symbolism

What is an example of a novella?

Some novellas that you may enjoy reading are:

  • Daura by Anukrti Upadhyay
  • Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag
  • Mother of 1084 by Mahasweta Devi
  • Three Women by Rabindranath Tagore
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

What is a novella vs. a novel?

The differences between a novella and a novel are:

Word count

A novella is 17,500-40,000 words, whereas a novel is anything over 40,000 words.


Novellas have less space to devote to the story, so they offer a fast-paced narrative with a single point of view. Novels have the luxury of exploring several points of view and diving into backstories. 

Central conflict

A novella focuses on a single central conflict and tends to focus on one main plot. Novels will usually have subplots and detailed character development for each character. 

Unity of time and place

It is recommended that writers of novellas ground their story in a single location (or limited space) in continuous time. 

Check out Reedsy’s blog on tips to write a novella.

Or you can watch this quick 5-minute video:


  1. https://www.purplepencilproject.com/top-ten-indian-novellas/
  2. https://bookriot.com/how-long-is-a-short-story/
  3. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/learn-the-differences-between-novelettes-novellas-and-novels#how-long-is-a-novelette
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_novellas
  5. https://www.writermag.com/improve-your-writing/fiction/novella/
  6. https://examples.yourdictionary.com/what-is-a-novella.html
  7. https://blog.reedsy.com/what-is-a-novella/

15 responses to “What is a Novella?”

  1. Thank you for reading, Sadvika!

  2. glad i could know the difference! a new concept learnt today

    1. Thank you for reading, Sadvika!

  3. Thank you for explaining Novellas to us. I have read and enjoyed Gachar Ghochar and citing that as an example has made me understand the concept of Novellas better.

  4. Thank you for reading, Aditi!

  5. Yes, I like novellas too. I can get to the next book quickly.

  6. Thank you for reading, Suhasini!

  7. I like novellas, too. They allow me to move on to the next title faster! 😀

  8. Thank you for reading, Neha! I’m picking up pointers from your blogging tips series.

  9. Thank you for reading! I’m glad it was useful.

  10. Thank you for the sharing the video Satabdi. It’s given me some ideas:)
    Very helpful post, indeed.

    1. Thank you for reading! I’m glad it was useful.

  11. Your posts are very informative for anyone wanting to know more about books. Great going satabdi

    1. Thank you for reading, Neha! I’m picking up pointers from your blogging tips series.

  12. I have recently come to appreciate novellas. They’re short but pack a punch. And I’m happy to say I have read quite a few of your reccos 😀

    1. I like novellas, too. They allow me to move on to the next title faster! 😀

  13. Good details about the Novella

    1. Thank you for reading, Suhasini!

  14. That was exhaustive and interesting post about novella. I like them actually as the brevity is a plus for me.
    Deepika Sharma

    1. Yes, I like novellas too. I can get to the next book quickly.

  15. That’s an interesting article on the distinction between novel and novella.

    1. Thank you for reading, Aditi!

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