Types of Novels, Their Characteristics and Examples

The novel is a narrative literary work It can be based on real or imagined events. The stories told in a novel are exposed to the author’s research or imagination and the author’s use of language to reach the reader.

There are different types of novels, taking into account criteria such as their form, content, genre, target audience, whether it is based on real or fictional events, among others.

Short novel

The short story is a type of narrative shorter than the novel, but larger than the story.

The short novel is composed of the same elements as the novel. However, due to its length, the characters, plot, settings and descriptions are brief and less developed.

Short story examples:

  • The colonel has no one to write to him (1957), by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Christmas tales (1843), by Charles Dickens
  • Metamorphosis (1915), by Franz Kafka

Epistolary novel

It is a type of novel narrated in the third person and told through letters, diaries or personal documents. It has a writing tendency similar to the autobiographical novel due to the narrator’s participation in the story.

It is characterized by having an intimate, true character, presenting a conflictive situation and being part of the evolution of the novel throughout the VXIII century.

Examples of epistolary novel:

  • Julia, or the new Eloisa (1761), by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • dracula (1887), by Bram Stoker
  • poor people (1844-1846), by Fyodor M. Dostoevsky

Autobiographical novel

The autobiographical novel is characterized by exposing information about the author’s life, for being a work that is born from his introspection. It narrates various moments of his life, generally those that have left their mark, such as achievements, failures, illnesses, losses, love stories, among others, and makes them known to the public.

Examples of autobiographical novel:

  • confessions (397-398), by Augustine of Hippo
  • Live to tell (2002) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Memoirs of a serious young woman (1958), Virginia Wolf
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Satirical novel

The satirical novel is characterized by the use of the elements of satire. In this type of novel, the author exposes his point of view in relation to a particular situation, which he ridicules to generate a reaction in the reader.

Examples of satirical novel:

  • Gulliver’s Travels (1927), by Jonathan Swift
  • Rebelion on the farm (1945), by George Orwell
  • Survivor (2000), directed by Chuck Palahniuk

Picaresque novel

It is a type of novel that narrates in the first person the adventures of a roguish protagonist, who even emerges as an antihero.

This type of novel is characteristic of Spanish literature during the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque, between the 16th and 17th centuries, a period known as the Golden Age.

These novels include characteristics of life during the sixteenth century, which is why he criticizes the customs of the time and invites a reflection on morality and that social reality.

Examples of picaresque novel:

  • The guide of Tormes (1554), by unknown author
  • The life of the seeker (1626), by Francisco Quevedo

Chivalric novel

The chivalric novel emerged in the fifteenth century. This type of novel is characterized by recounting the exploits and heroism of the knights who used to face various adversities throughout their lives.

The stories of the chivalric novels strive to present the reality of that time in the best way, in this way the story becomes more credible.

The main character, the knight, is described as a brave and strong man, capable of taking any risk and fighting whenever necessary. Likewise, the knight is an intelligent, cunning and honorable subject who is respected by many.

Examples of chivalric novel:

Brace the White (1490), by the Valencian author Joanot Mastorell.

Later, this type of novel was demystified with the publication of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote of La Mancha (1605), by Miguel de Cervantes.

Realistic novel

The realistic novel was widely developed in Spain in the mid-nineteenth century. It is characterized by presenting a narrative that very clearly reflects the reality of everyday life and various social events.

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These novels also stand out for the objective view that the author develops to describe and expose the reality of a given moment.

Examples of realistic novel:

  • Fortunate and Jacinta (1886-187), by Benito Pérez Galdós
  • Madame Bovary (1857), by Gustave Flaubert

Historical novel

The historical novel is based on past events, historical events. Narrated stories can deal with real events or they can be fictitious, as long as they take place in a historical moment. It is a type of novel that enjoys quite a lot of success.

In the case of narrating real events, the author must rely on arguments and relevant data about a series of events or characters that were relevant at a given time.

If it is a fictional story, the author must also place the story in the past and develop a plot based on their creativity.

Examples of historical novel:

  • The party of the goat (2000), by Mario Vargas Llosa, based on the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.
  • The name of the rose (1980), by Umberto Eco, whose story is born from the author’s imagination, developed in a mysterious environment.

Science fiction novel

Science fiction novels start from the speculation of a series of events that take place in an imaginary space. These stories are based on futuristic stories about space travel, the existence of aliens, human evolution, the end of the world, time travel, among others.

It uses elements such as physical sciences, technological elements or artificial life for the development of stories. The characters can even be human or beings recreated from the author’s imagination.

Examples of science fiction novel:

  • War of the Worlds (1898), by H. G. Wells
  • Ender’s Game (1985) Directed by Orson Scott Card

Fantasy novel

Fantasy novels are those that make use of imaginary elements to recreate worlds and characters with very particular characteristics. They should not be confused with science fiction novels, whose stories are largely based on technological elements.

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The characters that recreate these stories are usually fairies, wizards, sorcerers, elves, trolls, among others.

Examples of fantasy novel:

  • The Lord of the ringsJ. R. R. Tolkien
  • Harry Potterby JK Rowling

Noir novel

The crime novel tells stories about criminal or criminal events, generally unsolved. They are characterized by generating sensations in the reader, such as intrigue or agitation in the atmosphere of the story. They have social nuances that show the conflict of the characters struggling between good and evil.

Examples of black novel:

  • Eternal night (1967), by Agatha Christie
  • The Red Queen (2018), by Juan Gómez Jurado

Horror novel

Horror novels are characterized by narrating stories that generate fear and fear during the development of the events. However, these stories usually trap the reader until the end of the story.

Examples of horror novel:

  • Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus (1818), Mary Shelley
  • The Exorcist (1971) Directed by William Peter Blatty
  • The glow (1977), Stephen King

Adventure novel

They are novels that tell stories whose characters go into unknown places looking to experience something new. Knowing a place, taking a trip, revealing a mystery, starting a love relationship, are some of these experiences.

These novels are characterized by the fact that the characters must take risks, they are daring, they are attracted to mystery, they experience unknown situations and action, even, sometimes, they depend on luck.

adventure novel examples

  • Robinson Crusoe (1719), by Daniel Defoe
  • treasure islandor (1883), by Robert Louis Stenvenson

Romance novel

Romance novels are those in which a love story unfolds, usually with a happy ending.

The main plot of these novels is full of the emotions of the protagonists in love, who live a process of falling in love, furtive encounters, sensuality, the confrontation between rivals, among others.

Examples of romance novel:

  • wuthering heights (1847), by Emily Brontë
  • The bridges of Madison (1992) by Robert James Waller
  • love in times of anger (1985), by Gabriel Garcia Marque