Difference between novels, novellas, novelletes and short stories.

I got my first Asimov magazine and in it there is a novella and a couple novelettes.  Not knowing the difference between all these varieties I fired up the old searching fingers and consulted the great internet for some answers.

Dearest Google, what the hell is the difference between a novel, novella, novelette and short story?

Of course Wikipedia came back with a page that nailed the answer by using the definitions as set by the Nebula Awards, which are;

  • Novel = a work of 40,000 words or more.
  • Novella = between 17,500 and 40,000 words.
  • Novelette =  between 7,500 and 17,499 words.
  • Short Story = under 7,500 words.

So it’s strictly down to word count…or how arsed a writer can be with their idea…I jest!

Are there any other literary forms?  Surely a mammoth text of 200,000 words deserves its own category?

Just thought, Flash Fiction is another one. Accordingly, Wikipedia says there is no defined length but normally less than 1,000 words.

Thinking about it, I think 5 seperate forms is enough otherwise it’ll get stupid with every 1,000 words constituting a change of definition for your work.

“What do you think of the novel?”

“Well, first things first, technically it’s a ‘Flash Novella Postcard’.”

“Oh…is that good?”

“O’yes, it’s this year’s ‘Nanonovelette Vignette’.”