Ask Difference

Novel vs. Fiction — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 22, 2023
A novel is a long-form narrative work of fiction. Fiction is a broader term that encompasses storytelling that is not based on factual events, including short stories, novellas, and novels.
Novel vs. Fiction — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Novel and Fiction

ADVERTISEMENT

Key Differences

Novel and Fiction are terms often used interchangeably, but they represent different aspects of storytelling. A novel is a specific form of literature, characterized by its extended length and intricate plotting. Fiction, on the other hand, is a more encompassing term that includes various types of imaginative narrative, including but not limited to novels.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023
When we refer to a novel, we generally mean a lengthy written work that follows a plot and delves deeply into character development. Fiction, however, can be short stories, novellas, fables, and even some forms of poetry. Fiction is any storytelling that is not factual or based on real-life events.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023
Novels are almost always fiction, but fiction is not limited to novels. For instance, a collection of short stories would not typically be considered a novel, but it would fall under the category of fiction. In contrast, a novel is always a single, unified work of fiction, generally divided into chapters and presenting a continuous narrative.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023
The term "novel" focuses more on the structure and format of the work, usually indicating a certain level of complexity and length. "Fiction," however, is more concerned with the nature of the content, signaling that the events described are invented rather than factual.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Comparison Chart

Length

Long-form
Can be short or long
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Type

Specific form of fiction
Includes various forms
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Focus

Plot and character development
Imaginative storytelling
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Structure

Usually divided into chapters
Varies widely
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Factuality

Not factual
Not factual
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Novel

Defined by a single, unified plot.
The novel follows the life of its protagonist from childhood to old age.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Fiction

Explores invented scenarios, characters, or worlds.
Science fiction often takes place in futuristic settings.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Novel

A long narrative work of fiction.
Moby Dick is a novel by Herman Melville.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Fiction

Imaginative storytelling not based on factual events.
Harry Potter is a work of fiction.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Novel

Focuses on themes, motifs, or messages.
The novel explored the theme of freedom and choice.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Fiction

Can include various forms like novels, short stories, and novellas.
The fiction section of the bookstore is quite extensive.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Novel

A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the Italian: novella for "new", "news", or "short story of something new", itself from the Latin: novella, a singular noun use of the neuter plural of novellus, diminutive of novus, meaning "new".Some novelists, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Ann Radcliffe, John Cowper Powys, preferred the term "romance" to describe their novels.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

Usually written in prose, but can also include verse.
Historical fiction is a popular subgenre.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Novel

A fictional prose narrative of considerable length, typically having a plot that is unfolded by the actions, speech, and thoughts of the characters.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

Purpose is often to entertain, inform, or provoke thought.
Her fiction often tackles social issues.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Novel

The literary genre represented by novels.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

Fiction is any creative work (chiefly, any narrative work) consisting of people, events, or places that are imaginary—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact. In its most narrow usage, fiction refers to written narratives in prose and often specifically novels, though also novellas and short stories.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

Strikingly new, unusual, or different.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

Literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

Newly made, formed or evolved; having no precedent; of recent origin; new.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

Something that is invented or untrue
They were supposed to be keeping up the fiction that they were happily married
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

Original, especially in an interesting way; new and striking; not of the typical or ordinary type.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

The category of literature, drama, film, or other creative work whose content is imagined and is not necessarily based on fact.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

A work of prose fiction, longer than a novella.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

Works in this category
The fiction of Virginia Woolf.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

(historical) A fable; a short tale, especially one of many making up a larger work.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

A work within this category
The shorter fictions of Faulkner.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

(obsolete) A novelty; something new.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

Narrative, explanatory material, or belief that is not true or has been imagined or fabricated
The notion that he was at the scene of the crime is pure fiction.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

A new legal constitution in ancient Rome.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

A narrative, explanation, or belief that may seem true but is false or fabricated
"Neutrality is a fiction in an unneutral world" (Howard Zinn).
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

Of recent origin or introduction; not ancient; new; hence, out of the ordinary course; unusual; strange; surprising.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

(Law) A verbal contrivance that is in some sense inaccurate but that accomplishes a purpose, as in the treatment of husband and wife as one person or a corporation as an entity.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

That which is new or unusual; a novelty.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

(literature) Literary type using invented or imaginative writing, instead of real facts, usually written as prose.
I am a great reader of fiction.
The fiction section of the library
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

News; fresh tidings.
Some came of curiosity to hear some novels.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

A verbal or written account that is not based on actual events (often intended to mislead).
The company’s accounts contained a number of blatant fictions.
The butler’s account of the crime was pure fiction.
Separate the fact from the fiction
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

A fictitious tale or narrative, longer than a short story, having some degree of complexity and development of characters; it is usually organized as a time sequence of events, and is commonly intended to exhibit the operation of the passions, and often of love.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

(legal) A legal fiction.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

A extended fictional work in prose; usually in the form of a story
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

The act of feigning, inventing, or imagining; as, by a mere fiction of the mind.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

A printed and bound book that is an extended work of fiction;
His bookcases were filled with nothing but novels
He burned all the novels
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

That which is feigned, invented, or imagined; especially, a feigned or invented story, whether oral or written. Hence: A story told in order to deceive; a fabrication; - opposed to fact, or reality.
The fiction of those golden apples kept by a dragon.
When it could no longer be denied that her flight had been voluntary, numerous fictions were invented to account for it.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

Of a kind not seen before;
The computer produced a completely novel proof of a well-known theorem
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

Fictitious literature; comprehensively, all works of imagination; specifically, novels and romances.
The office of fiction as a vehicle of instruction and moral elevation has been recognized by most if not all great educators.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

Pleasantly novel or different;
Common sense of a most refreshing sort
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

An assumption of a possible thing as a fact, irrespective of the question of its truth.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

Contains developed characters and settings.
The novel paints a vivid picture of 19th-century England.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Fiction

Any like assumption made for convenience, as for passing more rapidly over what is not disputed, and arriving at points really at issue.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Novel

Usually divided into chapters.
The novel consisted of 40 chapters.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Fiction

A literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Fiction

A deliberately false or improbable account
Fiza Rafique
Sep 19, 2021

Common Curiosities

Is a novel always divided into chapters?

While most novels are, it's not a strict requirement.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

What is fiction?

Fiction refers to imaginative storytelling not based on factual events.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Do novels always have complex characters and plots?

Typically, but there are exceptions like minimalist novels.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Is historical fiction a type of novel or fiction?

It can be both; historical fiction can be presented in novel form or as shorter works.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Can fiction be short?

Yes, fiction can include short stories, novellas, and even some poems.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

What is a novel?

A novel is a long-form narrative work of fiction.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Are all novels fiction?

Almost always; novels are generally long-form works of fiction.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

What else falls under fiction besides novels?

Short stories, novellas, and some types of poems can be considered fiction.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger
Link
Previous Comparison
Socialism vs. Marxism

Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

Popular Comparisons

Featured Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms