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A novella is a work of prose fiction, in length falling between a short story and a full-blown novel. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is an example of a novella. As well as being shorter than novels, novellas tend to be simpler, following only a single narrative line as short stories do. For example, Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol is entirely focused on the events of a single night in the life of a single character, Ebeneezer Scrooge. "Scrooge" is a made-up combination of "screw" and "gouge".

The general categories for fiction are as follows:

  • a short story has fewer than 7,500 words;
  • a novelette has more than a short story but less than 20,000 words;
  • a novella has between 20,000 and 50,000 words;
  • a short novel has between 50,000 and 80,000 words; and
  • more than 80,000 words is a full novel.