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The 8 differences between a story and a novel

The 8 differences between a story and a novel

January 17, 2022

"Once upon a time…". This well-known construction resonates in our minds as the one that starts a large part of the stories we have heard in our childhood.

The story, like other types of literary genre, a form of narration that explains a story in the form of prose. Another genre that works the narrative from prose is the novel. Both types of narration have characteristics in common that cause them to sometimes get confused, but nevertheless they also have multiple differences that make them recognizable and different.

In this article we will expose the main differences between story and novel .


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Defining concepts: story and novel

The novel and the story are, as we have said, literary genres written in prose that tell and transmit a story in the form of a narrative. Although similar in some ways, they have multiple differences that make them easily recognizable.

A novel is a relatively extensive narrative that tells a story of fiction (be it totally fictitious or based in part on real events), elaborated for recreational purposes. A series of events are presented in which a series of characters will be involved, which will also be developed throughout history. The action is contextualized in a specific point of space-time, although it refers to non-existent environments or worlds. The themes of this can be varied and have different structures and ways of carrying out.


Regarding the story, it is a short and concise narrative that tells a specific fictional situation in which a few characters are involved and whose main function is to entertain as well as transmit certain values ​​or teachings. Its structure is simple, and although there are exceptions with generally not located in a specific time or special moment.

Main differences

Although in the previous section we can already deduce some differences between a story and a novel, then proceed to highlight them and explain them .

1. Extension

One of the easiest differences to detect between story and novel is the difference in its extension . While the story is generally short and usually does not cover more than a few pages, the novel usually presents a fairly marked extension. Despite this we must bear in mind that extension is a confusing parameter when establishing a limit between both types of narration, since there are very long stories and short novels that may be similar in this factor.


2. Level of specification and complexity

As a general rule, the novel presents a high level of complexity , presenting diverse situations that may be difficult to understand at first and that will be developed and varied throughout the narrative. However, the story tends to be simple and concise, proposing a situation that is very delimited and easy to understand and without usually appearing as complications beyond the initial proposals.

3. Thematic variation

While stories are usually related to a single topic on which to work throughout history, in the novels different themes, subplots and script turns may emerge that enrich reading but make it more complex and difficult to follow.

4. Structure

In both narrative genres we find a structure in the form of an approach, a node and an outcome. However, while the story adheres firmly to this structure and it is easy to define at what point in history we are, in the novel may appear script turns , new beginnings or even a series of parallel stories which make their structure more complex.

5. Characters

The emphasis given to the characters also differs in novel and story . While the story usually focuses on what happens to a few characters most of which are delimited from the beginning, in the novel may appear a wide variety of characters whose role may vary and will be developed with different levels of deepening.

6. Scenario

Another point in which story and novel differ is the use given to space and time . The facts that the story tells tend to occur in a single area or place or relate to a single trip, while in the novel the plot can take the characters to different environments very different from each other. Regarding time, although in both types of narration the events can happen in a short or long time interval, it is more frequent that in the story things happen in short time periods while in the novels the events are prolonged.

In the same way, often neither the moment nor the place are themselves analyzed in the story and only inferred, while in novels these aspects are usually delimited with greater precision while the story is much more contextualized (even if it is a question of places). and times that have never existed).

7. Purpose

The purpose of both genders also presents differences. While it is true that both are a playful element, The novel aims to entertain and in some cases make people think while the story focuses on transmitting a teaching (usually in the form of a moral).

8. Form of transmission

A final difference can be found in the novel is a literary development that is transmitted in writing . On the other hand, although the story may appear in writing, it has traditionally been transmitted orally.


How is writing a short story different from a novel? (January 2022).


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