Features of a novel with characteristics

The Most Important Novel Features

Some of the characteristics of the novel are prose writing, long length, fictional stories, diversity of subgenres, and character development. The novel is a fictional literary text characterized by considerable length and complexity. The Most Important Novel Features

Generally addresses issues related to human experience through a sequence of events that occur to a group of people within a specific context.

This genre encompasses a wide variety of sub-genres that have expanded over the years and are determined by the themes they address and the narrative techniques they use.

Most important characteristics of the novel

As usually happens with other topics associated with art and literature , there are great debates around the definitive characteristics of the novel. However, it is possible to establish some that are common to most experts.


The novel was one of the latest literary genres to develop. In addition, its historical origins do not have a fixed date depending on the interpretations of the researchers.

Some believe it to be in the Ancient Ages, others in Classical Rome and Greece, and still others in 11th-century Japan. The Most Important Novel Features

What they do agree more or less is that its definitive and well-defined implantation was during the Middle Ages . The prose romances and the Elizabethan poems were his closest predecessors in time.

With the figure of writers like Cervantes and his Don Quixote, the European novel begins to take shape and it is, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that English literature derives from this literary genre.

Prose writing

One of the main characteristics of the novel is its prose writing, that is, it is not written in a poetic format. This implies that it lacks a metric rhythm, repetition, or periodicity.

In some novels, lines in verse may be used for different aesthetic purposes. However, in all these cases it can be distinguished that the general style corresponds to prose and that the verse is used only as a narrative resource.


The length of the novels is one of the most debated characteristics within the literary field. However, in general, the length range is considered to be between 60,000 and 200,000 words.

The length depends on the genre and the story. Sometimes when the plot and character development is short, a novel can be very short.

However, when the unfolding of the situations warrants it, it can reach a great extent. An example of this are the books of the Harry Potter saga where each of the novels was longer than the previous one.

This is because as the plot and the stories of the different characters became more complex, a greater extension was necessary.

The length depends on the sensitivity of the author to determine how necessary it is to develop a theme or character. There is no standard measure and it can vary depending on the intent of each situation.


There is no rule that determines this characteristic, however, throughout the history of mankind, novels have been representatives of innovation. In other words, through them, the transition to new ways of making literature has been made. The Most Important Novel Features

In fact, its name itself speaks of innovation: it comes from the Latin Novellus which means “young and new”. Which represents its importance within the forefront of literature for each new generation.

This can also be seen in its continuous transformation over the centuries, unlike other literary genres that have remained stable over time, especially in the field of poetry.

Fictional but plausible content

Another fundamental characteristic of the novel are the themes it addresses. These are considered to be pieces of fiction, however, their narrative is usually realistic and presents the facts in a plausible and coherent way.

This realism is given by the characters, their relationships and the coherence that the facts maintain with each other, even if they are fictitious. This implies the existence of an underlying logic to the events and the way in which the characters react to them.

Thanks to this logic, the novel can consistently host genres such as fantasy and science fiction. Which are characterized by convincingly narrating facts that the reader recognizes as unreal.

Plot development

The plot refers to the events that unfold throughout the story. This is determined by a conflict posed by the author and unfolds through different situations experienced by the characters in the work.

The extension of the novel allows the plot to develop widely, giving space to complex situations. In many cases, even the central plot is surrounded by other small stories that are interconnected with the main events.

Novels can have plots of different complexity. This will depend on the number of characters and situations that intertwine to shape the events.

In any case, the quality of a novel does not depend on the complexity of its plot. In reality, it depends on the capacity of the author to give each event and each character the necessary depth within the development of it.

Character development

Thanks to the length and the realistic characteristics of the novel, it is possible that within it there is also a broad development of the characters.

In some cases this is reflected in the existence of a large number of characters with different incidents within the plot.

However, this possibility also gives rise to the creation of deep characters that the author makes known through a detailed biography or events that allow his character to be clearly revealed .

The depth of character development, however, is always different and depends on the characteristics of each novel.

Publishing practices

The size and complexity of many novels make it necessary for their publication to be carried out autonomously.

This makes a great difference with other literary formats such as poetry or short stories, which are usually published within anthologies or compilations.


Starting in the 19th century, the term “novel” began to be used and, with this, the subgenres were developed and labeled. Since then, we can recognize the satirical novel, the picaresque novel, the pastoral novel, the historical novel, the epistolary novel, the chivalric novel, the detective novel, the psychological novel, the horror novel or the adventure novel among others. The Most Important Novel Features

They can be divided by volumes

This means that there may be novels related successively, being distributed in two or more books. For example, the novel  The shadow of the cypress is elongated  (1947) by Miguel Delibes is divided into two volumes.

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