What Are Kinds of Prose?

Prose comes in several common literary forms, including the novel, novellas and short stories. Prose refers to works of fiction and non-fiction covering all topics and geared towards many different audiences. Regardless of type, all prose helps group written works into distinct categories, which in turn helps readers understand and analyze content.

Prose of all kinds helps readers and writers develop a sense of key characters and emotions. It sets the stage for events and tells a story from beginning to end, using a short format like poems and novellas, or in extended works like novels.

Some types of prose span multiple genres. Comedies, for instance, might also classify as dramas based on their content. Similarly, comedies and romances might overlap.

In written form, longer works of prose take the shape of novels. Shorter works, however, exist as novellas, essentially mini novels. Novellas come in longer lengths than short stories, and offer more complex plots and characters. This form of prose features more intricate layouts than short stories, but lack the subplots and multiple points of view found in novels. Novellas date back to the early 1300s, but did not experience widespread acceptance and enthusiasm until the 1800s. Famous novellas include "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway and "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad.