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Four Stacks of Books Arranged in Random Order

Telling Apart Novels, Novellas, and Short Stories

Four Stacks of Books Arranged in Random Order

If you’ve just started reading long-form fiction books, you probably know that novels outnumber novellas and short stories by more than a few pages. You’ll also have made your acquaintance with short stories during your formative years and know that they’re the shortest form out of the three.

However, the difference between novels, novellas, and short stories goes beyond numbers. Let’s take a walk—what do you say?


As mentioned previously, novels are a lengthy narrative. Like novellas and short stories, they have an introduction, followed by one or more obstacles, and end with a resolution.

However, unlike the other two forms, novels have more pages and words to explore subplots. Their characters are the farthest thing from cookie-cutter because they have room for character development.

In other words, a novel can’t afford to have a wafer-thin plot with two-dimensional characters because it can afford to have nuances and texture.

A Girl Reading a Book by a Lakeside


Out of the three, novellas are the one format readers read last and least of all. Oft ignored and overshadowed by its charismatic cousins, a novella is basically a shorter novel with more layers and dimensions than a short story but with fewer characters and subplots than a novel.

Since it involves a much shorter word count, the prices run much lower. Therefore, you won’t find many of them come out in paperback formats. However, they might have found a niche in the eBook format.

Nowadays, you’ll even see writers release these short-form novels as secondary epilogues on their websites to give their readers another glimpse into the happily ever after of their beloved characters.

Short Stories

A short story is very contained in terms of plot, characters, and format. It usually delves into main characters right off the bat to get to the main obstacle as soon as possible.

The narration in short stories is usually limited to a single character or narrator instead of shifting around after every chapter or pause. While most short stories eschew substance for focus, you may find some rich in symbolism and heavy with implication despite the limited wording.

Joseph Woodward: A Spinner of Tales, Short and Long

The short story collection by award winning storyteller Joseph Woodward falls in the latter category of short stories. The stories in their say a lot in the subtext than they do in the text itself, and that is precisely why you should read them.

If you’re a fan of biographical historical fiction, download the Pocket Book of Short Stories for free for a quick read. However, if you prefer to while away the hours, reading a historical romance novel, The Three Husbands of Annabelle might be more up your alley.

Reach out to the historical fiction author for book recommendations and writing tips.


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