What Is A Novel?

What is a novel?

What Is A Novel?

What is considered a novel can be a bit confusing to authors who are new to writing.

In colleges, Novel is taught in literature, followed by other prose work, poem, and poetry.

Well, many authors have already exhibited writing novels in different forms, yet unsure of what really makes a novel.

However, to make it easy for you, here are some valuable points about a novel you need to know.

What is a novel?

What Is A Novel?

According to Livio English dictionary 6.2, A novel is a work of prose fiction longer than a novella.

However, to some novelists, authors, and writers, a novel is considered imaginative writing instead of factual. 

To our understanding, A Novel is lengthy imaginative writing (narrative fictional writing) based on an actual story in conjunction with human experiences.

In a novel, it emphasizes more of how a character’s world looks using a complex perspective.

Is novel prose?

Now, why a novel will be considered prose is captured in the following reasons below –

  • It is written in prose form, not verses.
  • Not extremely fictionalized but semi-fictionalized. Well, prose purely non-fictional can still be considered a novel.
  • Consideration of the story length. While there is not exactly an amount that sums up prose to be seen more as a novel rather than a novella, there are no specific rules on the word length. However, a short fictionalized prose would be called Novella rather than a Novel.
  • Considering a prose fiction story is a novel, it has to be on the same page as the intended readers. However, this talks much about individualism.

As seen by novelists and writers, a novel is associated closely with fictional writing. However, authors say that not all fiction is novels, but all novels are fiction. Well, in such a case, considering non-fiction prose that is also lengthy as a novel could fall into similar writing types like biography, historiography, and others.

If you are a big fan of reading novels, you should already have noticed that most novels are drawbacks to the history of a character. Most real history is about a human or humans focusing on semi-fictional writing of historical characters. 


Characteristics of a Novel

Four features make prose tick like a novel. So, if any of the four features is missing in prose, it is not a novel but could still be similar to a novel or novella, biography, historiography, or others.

Here are the four characteristics of a novel –

  • Written as prose in opposition to verses.
  • Fictionalized or semi-fictionalized, even if tracked back to history.
  • Fictional prose with a lengthy narration of the character and the story as a whole.
  • In the case of individualism, its focus is on individuals rather than being for public readers.


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Novel or not?


Genres Of Novels

Since novels focus on prose fictional writing of characters and do not have a specific type of writing except characteristics, many authors demonstrate writing their novels in different styles.

Novels come in different subgenres; here are the major genres.


Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is imaginative writing in which its story happened in human history. Historical fiction mostly does a lot with semi-fictional stories, opposing pure fictional stories.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a good example of a historical fiction novel that you should try out.


Horror/Thriller Novels

Horror/thriller novels are usually designed to infer suspense, physiological horror, and a sense of fear in the reader.

A horror or thriller novel can not do it on its own but it combines with other genres like mystery or science fiction to manipulate the reader.

Heart of Darkness is a good example of a Horror/Thriller novel.


Science Fiction and Fantasy

Science fiction and fantasy is a popular genre of novels. The combined novel deals with speculative world-building and does have only blurred differences.

However, irrespective of their blurred differences, science fiction speaks more of a world of technology, and fantasy imagines a world full of magic in general.

Harry Potter is a good example of this novel genre.



A romance novel focuses on telling sexual love stories between characters. Most of the time, it usually gears into erotic and sexual fantasies.

Other than that, a romance novel is required to have an optimistic or “happy” resolution following its highly specific structure.


Realist Fiction

Realist fiction is another novel genre that seems to tell about possible reality or the future. Well, this genre is considered a novel because it talks about what will happen in the future, which is a probability, and George Eliot is one of the best-known realist authors.


Mystery Novels

A mystery novel is another novel genre that tells about solving a crime(s) that is/are mysterious. In a traditional format of a mystery novel, there is always a detective, and could be an amateur or a professional.

Other than that, the crime usually gears into another part, trying to mislead the detective, who still finds a way to solve it.

The Hardy Boys series is an example of a mystery novel.



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