What is a Novella?
If you’re participating in my reading challenge this year, then you’re on the look out for a novella to read. You may be wondering what exactly constitutes a novella and sets it apart from other works of fiction.
A novella is a work of fiction between 20,000-49,999 words. For comparison, a full length novel is anything over 50,000 words but most are around 80,000. So a novella is longer than a short story, which generally falls between 1,000 and 10,000 words.
While this can’t be said for every novella, in general they tend to have fewer characters, points of view, and subplots than full length novels, and are often faster paced. Character development is usually limited to the protagonist in a novella, as full length novels can have lots of secondary characters.
Some classic novellas
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Animal Farm by George Orwell
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Some contemporary novellas
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaha Murata
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill