Novellas are making a comeback – but what are they?

Written by Emmi Bowles

Novellas are making a comeback according to the Independent, and this bookworm couldn’t be happier!

What are novellas?



A novella is basically a short story – usually under 50,000 words – set in the world of a pre-existing book or series. It acts as a filler between one book and another in the series, or adds more detail and information to a setting or character from the original book or books in a literary series. Novellas can also come in the form of spin-offs.

An example of a novella would be if J.K Rowling wrote a short story about everything that Voldemort experienced in his childhood. This would tie-in with the original Harry Potter series but would also be a separate story.

Why I like novellas

In the past, I have read a lot of novellas that are a part of a book series and I think there are so many good reasons to read novellas.

1. They are short

I don’t usually like short stories, but because you have already established the world within the book series, the novella just acts as a little add-on, and because they are so short you can get through them quickly – which is great for those of us who have a Goodreads reading challenge.

2. They act as buffers

I hate finishing a book in a series and then having to wait months, sometimes years, for the next one, so having a novella makes the waiting game a lot easier. A lot of the time authors will publish a collection of novellas so it feels like you are reading a fully sized novel.

3. They add context

Some novellas will focus on specific characters, usually side characters that you didn't hear much about in the main novels but are curious to know more about. By having these short stories about them, you get to know their background and it gives you an insight as to why they are the way they are in the main series.

4. They allow the story within the original novel to continue

When an author finishes a series they will sometimes write an epilogue-style novella which gives fans of the series something extra to hold on to. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I finish a series and have that realisation that it’s all over. An extra novella makes it a little bit better and makes it last a little longer.

Do you read novellas? Recommend some to us over on Twitter – @KettleMag