KOLEC Lesson 11: Features of Novel

KOLEC Lesson 11: Features of Novel




A novel is a long fiction narrative that is written in prose. It is a long written story in which the characters and events are usually imaginary. 


The 'novel' was formerly called 'novella' but later the term developed into the present term 'novel.' 


Types of Prose 

The Prose has been divided into the following types: 

(1) Novelette

This is a piece of short prose fiction. The difference between a novelette and a novella is usually based upon word count. 

(2) Novella

This is a written fictional prose narrative that is larger than a novelette but shorter than a novel. 

Examples of novellas are: 

"Animal Farm" by George Orwell

"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

"Penal Colony" by Herman Melville. 

(3) Short story

This is a work of fiction that is shorter than a novel, novella, or novelette. The short story is one of the oldest forms of literature and most can be read in one sitting. 

Examples of short stories include: 

"Mabala the Farmer" by Richard Mabala

"The Party" by Anton Chekhov

Note. Most types of prose are determined by the word count of each type of prose:  

(1) Short story - Under 7,500 words 

(2) Novelette - 7,500-17,500 words 

(3) Novella - 17,500-40,000 words 

(4) Novel - Over 40,000 words 


Types of novels 

Types of novels can be categorized according to the content they convey as follows: 

• Social novels 

• Educational novels 

• Popular novels 

• Detective novels 

• Spy novels 

• Science-Fiction novels  

• Fantasy novels  

• Historical novels  

• Horror novels  

• Mystery novels 

• Romantic novels 



The novel is one of the most popular forms of literature. The following are the features that distinguish novel from other literary genres: 

(1) The subject matter of novels cover a wide range of period, human experience and imagination.  

(2) A novel is a narrative. It is told by a narrator/teller. It differs from a drama that presents a story through the speech and actions of the characters. 

(3) Novels are longer than short stories and most other types of narratives.  

(4) A novel is written in prose, rather than in verse. The novel uses ordinary language rather than poems. 

(5) Novels are works of fiction. That is, novels are fictitious works or imaginary creations.  

(6) A novel is flexible in its arrangement. Novelists can arrange incidents, describe places, and represent characters in an almost limitless variety of ways. 

(7) Novels also include more characters than any other genre of literature. For example, you may find more than 40 characters in a single novel. 



Novels, plays and poems are not only important for students and teachers at schools, colleges or universities. These forms of written literature are also important for those who wish to read literature for pleasure or learn more about a new language, different cultures, life experiences and knowledge in their life.



[1] (a) Define Written literature 

(b) Explain three common genres of written literature 

[2] Dichotomise the following:  

(i) Prose and verse  

(ii) Novelette and short story 

(iii) Novel and novella  

(iv) Educational novel and historical novel  

[3] "Novel is unique." Discuss (6 points)  

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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