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Old 02-27-2012, 10:55 AM   #1
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Books, Novellas and Novellettes

I hear these terms bounced around a lot what are the differences between these three catagories? I believe that the difference is one of length.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:04 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jbcohen View Post
I hear these terms bounced around a lot what are the differences between these three catagories? I believe that the difference is one of length.
Definitions vary, but a common one (used for the Hugo classifications):

Short story: up to 7500 words
Novelette: 7500 - 17500 words
Novella: 17500 to 40000 words
Novel: Over 40000 words
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:04 AM   #3
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Well "books" doesn't quite belong lumped in with those since pretty much annything can be called a book, but... yes, it's based on length.

Novel > novella > novelette

The word counts can vary.
(I myself, don't really see a need for a distinction between novelette and short-story)
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:07 AM   #4
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The distinction between the novel and the novella is a matter of length. Here is how the Science Fiction Writers of America make the distinction:

Novel over 40,000 words
Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story under 7,500 words

Other groups have different cutoff points, of course.

Now, 'book', that's a different matter, and gets a bit tricky. People tend to think of 'book' and 'novel' as being synonymous, but they really aren't. A book can be any length. In the days of paper books, if it was bound like a book, it was a book.

A magazine is a book by some definitions, it is printed on paper and has a cover. But because it has a thin paper cover rather than a stiff cover, and because it tends to be more than just text, we think of it as distinct from a book. Even paperback books tend to be more durable than magazines.

There get to be some gray areas. If I read an article on an e-reader, am I reading a book? If it was bound in a (relatively) stiff cover, people would call it a book.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
(I myself, don't really see a need for a distinction between novelette and short-story)
It gives the SFWA another award to hand out each year .

From the reader's viewpoint, I completely agree with you.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Definitions vary, but a common one (used for the Hugo classifications):

Short story: up to 7500 words
Novelette: 7500 - 17500 words
Novella: 17500 to 40000 words
Novel: Over 40000 words
As someone who is just a reader and not a writer, word counts really don't mean anything to me. Could those numbers be translated to page counts?

I've never really heard of a novelette (except mentioned in a Belle & Sebastian song), but the way I've always thought it went was, a short story is up to 50 pages or so, a novella is 50-150 pages, and a novel is anything over that. Is that about right?
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:00 PM   #7
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I've never seen any "page" equivalents, myself. Since they would tend to vary quite a bit with font-size, line-spacing, page-size, margins and whatnot.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tecweston View Post
As someone who is just a reader and not a writer, word counts really don't mean anything to me. Could those numbers be translated to page counts?

I've never really heard of a novelette (except mentioned in a Belle & Sebastian song), but the way I've always thought it went was, a short story is up to 50 pages or so, a novella is 50-150 pages, and a novel is anything over that. Is that about right?
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - 76944 words

You can do the math from there.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
(I myself, don't really see a need for a distinction between novelette and short-story)
It is a legacy of the magazine days when an issue would feature a fix quota of short stories, articles, and novelletes, and either a novella or a serialized novel.

Here's a slightly different take:
http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/wordcount.html

When it comes to fiction ebooks the whole word count thing is becoming irrelevant and we're seeing a breakdown of the categories into (mostly) short-stories and novels, with bigger novels (100K+) no longer scaring anybody.

(And, of course, with ebooks page count is meaningless to start with).
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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We need more sizes: Noveltina, Novelzilla for example.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:42 PM   #11
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There's also chapbooks, at least in print, but I suppose they would fit under short story too. They're usually about 20 pages or so.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:46 PM   #12
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We need more sizes: Noveltina, Novelzilla for example.
...and Novelpalooza for those really big books
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:51 PM   #13
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The noveloid falls right in my personal reading wheelhouse.
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #14
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I propose a new category: the novelego. In Esperanto, the 'eg' suffix means big. In Esperanto, 'novel' is 'romano', and 'novella' is 'romaneto'. I haven't seen the word used, but 'romanego' would imply something larger than a novel. If we borrowed the 'eg' prefix, we could have 'novelego' as a category for something larger than a novel, and some of the giant tomes really seem like they aren't quite in the same category as other novels.

Of course, I have no expectation that novelego, or any term like it would actually be adopted...
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:27 PM   #15
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...and the InfiniNovel for those books that never seem to end.
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