Is My Novel a collection of short stories or a Novel

by Adam Burt

Question: My novel is told from 7 POV characters. Each POV story is like a short novel (Novella). I say this because each POV has its own beginning, Middle and ending. And if I were to take one of the POVs out it wouldn't affect the others.

To me, that's a collection of novellas.

However, the book is written where as the POV's switches back and forth by chapters and the characters have interactions with each other and their are events that bring the characters together throughout the book.

They all go to the same school and the stories take place at the same time. (Its NOT where you can read one story then move on to the next story)

To me, that's like a novel.

I know this sounds very different but I'm having a hard time labeling it a Novel or a collection of short novels.

If you see it as a collection of short novels, is there anyway that I can connect the stories to form a novel without messing up each individual story?

Answer: There are other authors who have written books like yours. For instance, Stephen King's Different Seasons is four novellas with minimal connection between them.

A character in one novella mentions a character in one of the other novellas. So they are somewhat set in the same story world. However, each story is presented separately like you would in an anthology.

Another example is David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, which is called a novel, but in effect it is six novellas. Some of the novellas take place in the same story world but in different eras. Other novellas are mentioned as works of fiction in some of the later novellas. Most of the novellas are split in two, with the first part of each appearing in chronological order in the first half of the book. The second half of the book presents the conclusion of each novella, in reverse order.

Some authors will write anthologies of stories that all take place in the same story world. (Sometimes publishing each story separately first and then collecting them into one volume later.)

Whether you consider your book to be an anthology or a novel is a subjective judgment, based in part on how interconnected the stories are -- how much the reader needs to read all the stories in order to appreciate any one of them fully.

For instance, is there a common theme that runs through all the stories?

Another factor is whether they are published at the same time as one book or published separately first.

Format is a third factor. Is there a reason you have divided the stories into parts and interspersed them? Are you trying to juxtapose the stories because you want the reader to make connections between them or see a thematic relationship between different stories? That would support calling the book a novel rather than an anthology. Can you argue that there is an overriding event that affects all the stories, such as coming of age, graduation, a pivotal time for that generation, etc.?

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