Novel – Concept, types, structure and examples

We explain what a novel is and the types of novel that exist. Also, how is its structure and examples. Short story and novel.

The novels are characterized by having a complex plot.

What is a novel?

A novel consists of a more or less extensive literary narrative, usually fictional in nature, in which a series of prolonged events is told in order to entertain and provide aesthetic pleasure to its readers. It is, along with the chronicle and the short story, one of the subgenres into which the genre of narrative is divided, whose distinctive feature is the fictional construction of a storyteller.

The novels are characterized by having a complex plot, abundant in digressions or twists and turns, generally starring several characters and even narrated from different points of view.

However, there are no delimitations regarding what a novel can or cannot be, especially in contemporary literature, which saw in the creative freedom of the novel the opportunity to explore the frontiers of narration, through discontinuous, fragmentary texts, absurd, etc.

This freedom is essential to the novel, which he uses any narrative artifice that allows him to tell his story. The result is a work of an open type, in which a possible world is reproduced that the story told partially explores, unlike the story that tends to build a universe closed in on itself, to which nothing can be added.

The novel has as its antecedent the epic genre of Greco-Roman antiquity, as explained by Aristotle in his Poetics. However, the genre acquired its modern meaning from the Middle Ages, and will emerge as a modern genre from the publication of Don Quixote of La Mancha of Cervantes in 1605.

Types of novel

The romance novel tells of love affairs and erotic adventures and misadventures.

The novel is considered a protean genre, that is, multiple in its forms and, therefore, in its possible classifications. However, taking into account the nature of its content, it is often spoken of:

  • Adventure novel. Where a journey or a vital journey of a character is told from beginning to end, who when he returns is no longer the same as he left.
  • Science fiction novel. Those in which the possibilities of impact of technology and scientific knowledge on the life of human beings are explored.
  • Police novel. Their stories have to do with the clarification of a crime committed and their protagonists tend to be police officers, detectives or law enforcement officers.
  • Romance novel. It tells stories centered on the adventures or amorous or erotic misadventures of its characters.
  • Novel of chivalry. His story centers on the life of a knight errant and his adventures in medieval Europe.
  • Horror novel. It presents terrifying stories, with the presence of monsters and mysterious supernatural entities, which cause fear or tension to the reader.
  • Fantastic novel. It offers a possible world built entirely from the imagination, with its own rules, creatures and history, different from the real world.
  • Realistic novel. The opposite of the fantastic, it offers stories set in the real world, without magical or supernatural attributes.
  • Psychological novel. Those that delve into the reflections, feelings and the inner world of the characters, rather than the events that occurred.
  • Philosophical novel. It raises reflections of an existential or transcendental order set in a story that encourages or encourages them.
  • Epistolary novel. The one that tells its story from the supposed reproduction of letters, journal entries, emails and other forms of correspondence between the characters.

Structure of a novel

The novel can have endless possible structures, since it is the realm of narrative freedom. Nevertheless, the usual is that the body of a novel is divided into chapters or entries, sometimes numbered or even titled, that segment the story so that the reader can go through it in an orderly manner. This does not mean that a novel cannot occur in a single act, or that it can be counted in thousands of tiny entries. The possibilities are limited to the creativity of the author.

Novel example

Some recognized examples of novels are:

  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
  • The process by Franz Kafka.
  • One hundred years of loneliness by Gabriel García Márquez when we have the information.
  • Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar.
  • For whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.
  • Don Quijote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes when we have the information.

Short story and novel

The story is a short and closed story with few elements.

The story and the novel they are narrative subgenres, whose differences do not lie solely in the length (the novel is usually much longer, while the story should be able to be read at once). Julio Cortázar, Argentine writer, explained the difference with a boxing metaphor: the novel wins by points and the story wins by knockout.

This means that the latter aspires to a forcefulness and a closed story with few elements, while the novel is scattered, abundant and aspires to a long journey and interesting of the fictional world that it raises.