What is a Novel? Types of Novels, and What Makes a Good One

What is a Novel? Types of Novels, and What Makes a Good One

Whenever we talk about literature, a basic question that strikes our minds: What is a novel? In fact, a novel is a long narrative based on fiction with the amalgamation of realism. A novel is different from poetry and it usually comes in the form of a book.

Since it is said that the word ‘novel’ has been taken from the Italian language and that means ‘new’. There are different types of novels in literature. So, we will explain in this article its characteristics.

What Is a Novel?

1. A graphic novel

A graphic novel is a book that is primarily printed on a dedicated printing press and has minimal lettering and usually no pages. The physical size of graphic novels tends to be smaller than the equivalent mass-market paperbacks. A graphic novel usually contains a combination of prose and some images.

2. A comic book

A comic book is an illustrated story published as a serialized form of printed fiction. The size and format of a comic book will vary depending on the story. Some include color and others black and white. Comics also have a long tradition of being printed by specialist publishers.

3. A novel in verse

A novel in verse is a poetry collection of typically five or six poems that are published as a book. The book is usually a regular book size.

Types of Novels

There are multiple types of novels. It can be based upon different subjects.

1- Usually a plot of a more complex plot

2- The plot usually ends when it is finished

3- More to the plot is revealed.

4- The plot ends with a strong resolution.

5- A book about a more complex plot and ending.

6- A novel about someone’s past.

7- A fictional but universal story.

8- A book that inspires a movement.

9- A book about a philosopher or psychologist.

10- A fictional book.

11- A book about a popular folk hero.

12- A book that reveals everything about a famous person or a king

The most important thing about a novel is that it has an important theme. For example, a man from the past is searching for his love, who is in her present life.

The Classic Novel

The classic novel or High Classic Novel, as it is referred to by some writers and critics, is a narrative work written in prose form that has got realistic details, realistic characters, a novel plot, realistic settings, realistic events, a novel main character, a novel’s main idea, and themes. Because it should be an account of the journey of the main character from birth to death, with a self-contained ending to the journey. Whereas the classic novel should be of great length, as measured in chapters, and have a lot of truth in it. So there should be the same amount of truth and confusion in the classical novel as in Life of Pi. It should be a true tale that has never been told before.

The Gothic Novel

Eugenia Price, whose most famous novel is The Ghost, uses the word ‘novel’ for her term. She defines the term as an “oeuvre,” “book,” or “story”.

Before we compare the word to other generic terms, let us look at the origins of the Gothic. ‘Gothic’ comes from the French ‘goblet’ which means “pottery”. Since there were many famous potters in France, people started to think that the new fiction writers were potters.

Therefore, a new type of story started with the first account of a ghost. So according to historical records, the first account of the Ghost was written by a priest named Father Eusebius of Limoges, France in the late 18th century. In his account, he narrates a spectral-looking woman standing on a rooftop in a church. He calls it the “Vie Perdua De Sancta Marteena”.

The Bildungsroman

The first novel is the Bildungsroman, which means “gathering of maturity”. It is about a young protagonist growing up and starting to find his/her place in the world, with a strong theme of dealing with early disappointments and facing the consequences of life choices.

Parable Novels

If we look at a Parable Novels are unique and require the reader to take a step back and analyze a theme by reading a fictional story. The narrative-driven story is the main strength of this kind of story and the content varies from mythology to social and political satire to even a character-driven tale.

Conventional Novels

Generally, a conventional novel is a standard story that develops around the protagonist. It could be a war story, romance, action-thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, or even a satire.

What Makes a Good Novel?

A ‘good’ novel has a little realism and some facts and is often in prose form. It should not be too long and should have a well-plotted story.

The Story

A good plot will include a protagonist who seeks to get somewhere in life by taking a particular course of action, which brings about a particular result. It should usually be believable and have a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion.

Why are Novels so Difficult to Write?

Writing a good novel is really very hard. If you could do it well, and if your readership was large and the opportunity to sell as many copies as possible, it would be a very popular and lucrative literary form. However, we are looking for a kind of writing which has not had an established basis of popularity to rely on.

General Characteristics of a Good Novel

These are some of the things that a good novel should have in it. They are of two types, A & B.

A Novel – A Novel has a strong basic storyline or plot, there is some definite outcome in terms of the story. The reader’s interest is maintained and they are never bored and excited. If one finds themselves wanting more or if they are confused, this is not a good novel.

– A Novel has a strong basic storyline or plot, there is some definite outcome in terms of the story. The reader’s interest is maintained and they are never bored and excited. If one finds themselves wanting more or if they are confused, this is not a good novel.

 B Novel – A good B Novel has a strong set of events, but it does not involve an overlying main storyline.

What Are the Different Elements in a Story?

So a great story depends on a combination of character, conflict, voice, theme, and timing. Without these elements, the novel is not very good and is of little consequence. Without a plot and without a catalyst to move the story on, there is little interest in the story and none of it is worth a second of your time to read.

A good story may have a lot of characters and have scenes that can appear to be disconnected but a well-chosen ‘trigger’ or turning point always brings everything into the right order. The characters in the story must relate to each other with some degree of empathy and they must also have conflicts that must be resolved by the end of the story.


 The reason why the protagonist of a story is important is that he or she is the one who has to carry the story. This is one thing that is common in all the stories. The reason why the story is told in a linear fashion is that the character is not only responsible for the actions and events, but also for how they are revealed. 

 You cannot tell the whole story by telling just what happens, rather you have to give a glimpse at certain events which will, eventually, help you understand the whole story. The only way to do this is by “showing” more of the story and “telling” less.

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