There are many different types of literature, but two of the most popular are short stories vs novels. Both have their unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to understand the difference before deciding which one to read.
Short stories are typically shorter and easier to read than novels, but they tend to be less complex and have less developed characters. On the other hand, novels are usually longer and more complex, but they can also be more difficult to get into.
What is a Novel?
A book is a narrative with numerous characters and many occurrences. A novel is an extended literary form. It is frequently separated into chapters, sometimes numbered and sometimes not. A book’s plot is often spanned across several years of the novel’s main character.
Many more characters are linked to the main character. In a narrative, these people come and go. However, it may be difficult for a reader to recall all of the characters in a story. This is because a book is so huge.
A novelist is a writer who creates a novel. A book takes an author many years to finish. He has unlimited time to grow the plot, adds as many people as he wants, connects the characters, makes adjustments to the story anytime he wants and utilizes his ingenuity to construct the climax after the story.
However, a book may be written rapidly at times, depending on the writer’s attention and the amount of time they devote to writing regularly. On the other hand, reading a book takes more time than reading a short story. It should be recalled that it is very normal for a writer to create short tales. As a result, a novelist may also be a short story writer.
What is a Short Story?
A brief narrative has fewer characters and concentrates on one key event. A short tale is a literary genre that is limited in length. It does not have many characters, which is a characteristic of a book.
Of course, the primary character of a short narrative is backed by a few additional characters who lend significance to the plot. As a result, the reader easily remembers the characters in a short narrative.
A short story writer is someone who writes short stories. Writing a short narrative is more difficult. Writing a book allows you greater freedom than writing a short story. This is because the story writer must convey an essential message to the readers via the medium of a short narrative.
A short narrative cannot afford to go into depth about any one occurrence in the plot. It is more of a message than fiction.
As a result, it is concise and describes exactly what is required. When it comes to the time required to create a short narrative, it is clear that a short story may be produced in a short amount of time. This is a significant distinction between the two.
A short story writer, like a novelist, may also be a novelist. Some authors, however, are better at writing short stories than novels.
The Difference Between Short Story and Novel Writing
The most evident distinction between a short story and a book is the length of the work. Length may assist you in deciding which to write: Does your narrative need the space of a book to be told correctly, or can it be wrapped up quickly?
Count the words. A short tale is defined broadly as any piece of narrative fiction containing 1,000 to 10,000 words. On the other hand, books typically range from 50,000 to 70,000 words.
However, there are plenty of instances of novels that are longer or shorter than those arbitrary parameters. On the other hand, an excellent short story is intended to be read in a single session or day, but a book is intended to engage the reader for a longer amount of time, such as days, weeks, or even months.
Story of this kind. What is the true reason for the story’s length? That is dependent on your concept. A longer tale needs a greater or more complicated topic to support its length. A trip to your grandmother’s for supper can make a good short tale, but it might be not easy to carry off in a book unless you’re Marcel Proust.
The length of time. Short stories, on average, describe events that occur over a shorter period than novels. But this isn’t always the case; Chekhov, for example, created several tales that seem more like condensed novels, spanning years in only a few carefully written pages.
While outlining your tale, consider if it requires substantial history to make sense to the reader. Is it based on a single incidence or a complicated succession of incidents? Is it essential to include a lot of subplots or digressions to represent the entire scope of the story? The more information you need to provide for the tale to ring true, the longer the project.
Subplots. Another approach to considering the distinction between tales and novels is the story’s intricacy. A short narrative usually takes less time, follows just one thread, and seldom has more than one subplot. A book, on the other hand, maybe brimming with subplots.
Setting. It might take a long time to introduce your reader to a new place. Suppose you’re writing in a historical period or creating a new planet, as in science fiction. In that case, you’ll generally need to write more exposition than a narrative set in the current day and a known setting.
The number of characters Novels often have bigger casts of well-developed characters. Short tales often include fewer characters, if not only one major character.
Different points of view. Think about how you want your tale told: What is your opinion? Switching points of view during a short tale may be challenging for a writer (and confusing for a reader). In a lengthier novel, smart switches in point of view (even between first and third person) may be necessary to keep the reader’s interest—spending too many pages with the same character or perspective might tire a reader.
The main distinction between a short story and a book is the depth of the writing. Novels provide greater capacity for a deeper investigation of a bigger number of characters, details, ideas, and so on and can accommodate numerous points of view more readily.
When I say books have greater depth, I don’t mean more significance. Short tales have the same capacity for significance and resonance as novels; in fact, shortness may sometimes heighten these literature characteristics, producing impact via what is left unsaid rather than what is immediately on the page.
Instead, I’m referring to the amount of material the writer may include on the page, which is inexorably tied to length, complexity, and speed.
Example of How a Short Story Could Turn into a Novel
Some short tales have the potential to become novels if there is a vast scope to examine a character’s backstory or if other events may branch out from the story’s primary conflict.
The surface issue in Gabriel Garcia Marquez‘s short novella ‘One of These Days’ is that the mayor wants his tooth out; the dentist is hesitant to treat him and shows a feeling of nonchalance. The mayor then threatens the dentist with a gun if he does not extract his teeth. This adds to the stress.
Isn’t the mayor joking? However, how the dentist looks at his handgun adds to the danger. ‘Now you’ll pay for our twenty dead soldiers,’ says the mayor as the doctor rips the rotting tooth from his jaw (without anesthetic). This one sentence gives the quarrel meaning.
This works as a short tale: This story has a straightforward plot. A tiny town’s dentist seizes the chance to exact a minor act of vengeance on a mayor who has done the community wrong. The novella is around 1,000 words long and revolves around one relationship and one basic dispute that is overcome. It works well as a short narrative.
What would have to change for it to become a novel: This straightforward vengeance plot has the possibility for further development. What happened to the men? Is the mayor truly a crook? Why does the dentist so despise the mayor? What else has he accomplished? Was the dentist related to any of the deceased men? What is the backstory of this illiterate dentist in the dusty, cobweb-infested surgery? If the author attempted to get into this degree of detail, the text would become a book. It now suits the short narrative format wonderfully.
Overall, the major distinction between a short story and book writing is not just the number of words produced – it is the scope and depth of the text. It would help if you had a complicated notion worth investigating, and then you must investigate it.
Why are short stories better than novels?
Characters in short stories are fewer.
Many centers on a single character, while others may feature many. The emphasis is usually on a single character, with supporting characters that help the primary character’s tale, but with little to no growth that you would expect to see in a book.
Does anyone read short stories?
Smith writes and sells a lot of short stories. If you read his blog and the comments, you’ll see that many other authors make a decent living from short stories. As a result, the answer is yes, there is a market. People do read short tales.
Are short stories harder to write than novels?
Some authors feel that short stories are more difficult to write than novels. They may attribute this to the fact that in a short tale, every word must matter, but in a book, the plot might meander. Although this is true to some degree, the book nevertheless has significant obstacles.
Can you publish a short story?
Some argue that short tales have no place in today’s publishing environment, yet in truth, there are more options to publish short fiction than ever before. While traditional publishers prefer novels over story collections, the internet market for short stories has risen.
For centuries, the debate between short stories and novels has been around, with writers and readers taking sides. In general, novels are longer than short stories, and they offer more complex plotlines and character development.
However, short stories can be just as impactful, and sometimes even more so, due to their brevity. There is no clear answer as to which is better, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Thanks for reading!