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Defining the term 'novel' is no easy task because this word means different things to different people. Novels do share some common characteristics, though, as outlined here by Carson-Newman University:

  • A novel is usually a piece of extended fictional prose.
  • It is generally longer than 50,000 words which helps us to separate a novel from a novella (a piece or prose with less than 50,000 words) or a short story. 
  • It has a set of primary characters as well as secondary characters.

In addition, there is no specific genre for a novel. From mystery and science fiction to romance and thrillers, a novel can belong to any genre. Similarly, a novel is not limited to specific themes or ideas. Novels can deal with any subject from any perspective and can be situated in any time and space.

For more information, please see the reference links provided.

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