A work of fiction is created in the imagination of its author. The author invents the story and makes up the characters, the plot or storyline, the dialogue and sometimes even the setting. A fictional work does not claim to tell a true story. Instead, it immerses us in experiences that we may never have in real life, introduces us to types of people we may never otherwise meet and takes us to places we may never visit in any other way. Fiction can inspire us, intrigue us, scare us and engage us in new ideas. It can help us see ourselves and our world in new and interesting ways. What's more, it's often just plain fun!
There are three main types of fiction: the short story, the novella and the novel. Let's explore each of these.
First, we have the short story. According to the famous short story writer Sujatha, a short story is a piece of fiction that can be read in one sitting of about a half hour to about two hours. Short stories contain between 1,000 and 20,000 words and typically run no more than 25 or 30 pages. Because of their limited length, short stories generally focus on one major plot or storyline and a few characters.
Next up, we have the novella. Novellas are longer than short stories and tend to run about 20,000 to 50,000 words, usually between 60 and 120 pages. Because novellas have more room to work with, they typically have a more complex plot or storyline and more characters than short stories.
Finally, a novel is a work of fiction that contains over 50,000 words or 120 pages. Novels are even more complex than novellas, and they usually have more than one plot or storyline and many well-developed characters. Novels can be as long as their authors want them to be. There is no outer limit to their length.
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