Literature and Writing 1: Mr. Pidot Short Story vs. The Novel



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Literature and Writing 1: Mr. Pidot

Short Story vs. The Novel

What’s the difference?


● The primary difference between the short story and the novel is not word length.
● Neither is a novel a string of stories with discursive and other connective tissue and padding.
● The primary difference between the short story and the novel is not length but the larger, more conceptual weight of meaning that the longer narrative must carry on its back from page to page, scene to scene.
● In a good short story the crisis exists in present time.
● As Frank O'Connor said, in a short story the crisis is the story. In a novel, by contrast, the crisis is only our destination, it occurs as a point in an unfolding of time; it is the logical result of what has come before it
● So while the short story, like poetry, seeks to focus time, the novel, being more like history, being the most secular of forms, seeks to survey it.
● There's no "official" definition, but generally:
Short Story is under 10,000 words
Novella is 10,000 - 40,000
Novel is over 40,000…but most published novels are much longer, probably 80,000 - 100,000
Literature and Writing 1: Mr. Pidot
Short Story vs. The Novel

What’s the difference?

● The primary difference between the short story and the novel is not word length.

● Neither is a novel a string of stories with discursive and other connective tissue and padding.
● The primary difference between the short story and the novel is not length but the larger, more conceptual weight of meaning that the longer narrative must carry on its back from page to page, scene to scene.
● In a good short story the crisis exists in present time.
● As Frank O'Connor said, in a short story the crisis is the story. In a novel, by contrast, the crisis is only our destination, it occurs as a point in an unfolding of time; it is the logical result of what has come before it
● So while the short story, like poetry, seeks to focus time, the novel, being more like history, being the most secular of forms, seeks to survey it.
● There's no "official" definition, but generally:
Short Story is under 10,000 words
Novella is 10,000 - 40,000

Novel is over 40,000…but most published novels are much longer, probably 80,000 - 100,000




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