What is a Novel (and Its Characteristics)

A novel is a literary work narrative and of a certain length. It is written in prose and narrates fictional events or stories based on real events, which happen in a certain time and space.

The main purpose of the novel is to convey the perceptions and thoughts of the author and attract the reader through elements that arouse their interest (the setting, the conflict, the plot, etc.).

These are the main features that define the novel:

  • The novel has a structure Composed of three parts: the approach, the knot and the outcome.
  • It is a type of open creation, since it can deal with various topics and use different registers.
  • The characters They can be fictional or based on real people. Generally, main characters participate in the action, such as the protagonist and the antagonist, but there may also be secondary and tertiary characters.
  • has a storyteller that tells the story in the first, second or third person, the latter being the most common way of narrating in literature. The narrator is responsible for bringing the readers closer to a point of view in relation to the facts.
  • The novel is essentially a narrative textthat is, it narrates a series of events, but it can incorporate other textual modalities such as description or dialogue.
  • Another feature that characterizes the novel is its extension. If we compare it with a story or a legend, the novel is more extensive.
  • A novel is considered literary novel when it is accepted by literary criticism as an artistic creation.
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Types of Novels

Novels can be classified according to the topic they address, their length, the type of reader they are aimed at, etc. These are some of the most important types of novels that exist:

Short novel

A short novel is a type of literary work that can be placed between the story, the story and the novel. The main feature is its minor extension compared to that of a typical novel.

The themes, characters, settings, plot and other items of a novella do not vary in relation to those of a novel. Although due to its short length, some of them can be simplified.

Some short story examples are:

The colonel has no one to write to him (1961) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Metamorphosis (1915) by Franz Kafka

noir novel

The black novel is one whose events revolve around a crime pending resolution. They are characterized by developing in gloomy environments and contain social overtones. Its origin dates back to the twenties of the last century and bears certain similarities with police or detective novels.

Some crime novel examples are:

The assassination of Roger Ackroyd (1926) by Agatha Christie

The wild (2016) by Guillermo Arriaga

Picaresque novel

A picaresque novel is a type of novel typical of the 16th and 17th centuries that narrates the experiences of a rogue protagonist, usually in the first person. In this type of novels, the moral and social reality of the moment is usually reflected in a critical way.

The concept of picaresque novel is also used to refer to a literary subgenre that groups this type of novel.

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Some picaresque novel examples are:

Lazarillo de Tormes (1554) by unknown author

The life of the seeker (1626) by Francisco de Quevedo

Adventure novel

A Adventure novel It is a literary subgenre and also a type of novel that narrates several events and situations in which elements such as the actiondanger and bravery.

Although it may other themes such as social criticism, adventure novels are based on entertainment.

Some adventure novel examples are:

The island of the treasure by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (1873)

the black corsair by Emilio Salgari (1898)

horror novel

A horror novel It is a type of novel and a literary subgenre that uses literary themes and elements related to emotions such as fear and the distress. The atmosphere that is recreated through the description of places, characters and events helps to provoke these types of emotions in the reader.

Resources such as suspense and the intrigue. In some cases, supernatural, legendary elements or aspects related to death, phobias and fear of the unknown appear.

Some horror novel examples are:

dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971)

The glow Stephen King (1977)

See also:

  • types of novels
  • Story
  • Legend
  • Narrative text