So I was interested to read an article in this weekend's Arts/Books section of the Independent online, about The Novella Award. Their shortlist was announced on the 17th July, and the entries to this year's competition had to be between 20,000 and 40,000 words.
Perhaps the question is when does a novella become a novel?
The My Weekly Pocket Novels are now 50,000 words, though the version from The People's Friend is only 42,000 words. So both these are higher than the 40,000 mentioned above. But neither would be considered novel length by a mainstream publisher.
Perhaps we need to start using 'mini novel' for those word counts that fit between 40-80,000 words.
The writers of the past didn't have these issues; they went to both extremes.
'Animal Farm' by George Orwell has 29,966 words, so although it is actually novella length everyone thinks of it as a novel- probably because at the time it was written it was a novel!
While Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone With The Wind' was a large novel of 418,053 that could rival some of the Game of Thrones novels now available.
You can find some interesting facts on the wide range of word lengths on the Electric Lit website, in the post titled Infographic: Word Counts of Famous Books. (The figures from the above titles came from here.)
No doubt in a few years these figures will change and we'll still be uncertain about what length is a novella, and the minimum for a novel.
What are your thoughts on the subject?
|Which is a novel and which a novella?|